I purchased the Australian Women’s Weekly Tagines & Couscous when I was teaching myself how to make Moroccan food, and then never cooked from it because I had several other Moroccan cookbooks which were less focused on certain cooking types. Like all modern/recent AWW cookbooks, this one is well laid out with clear instructions for the most part, and the ingredients are not too difficult to locate. As last time I cooked with lamb shanks, I failed to get a butcher to “french-trim” them for me. Next time I will endeavour to find a butcher who will do that for me, so the recipe works properly. All up I was really happy with the two recipes I selected from this book. The vegetarian dish was great, the Moroccan blend of spices that hasn’t worked with meat as far as my household is concerned, worked beautifully with the pumpkin.
There was one major stuff up for the instructions with the lamb shanks. First you cook the lamb shanks in batches, and then you cook the onion and spices, add the beans, lemon rind, juice, tomatoes, etc – and at no point according to the recipe do you add the lamb shanks back to the pot. I’ll correct that in the instructions below.
All up I give this 3 out of 5 stars.
Moroccan lamb shanks with polenta and white beans
- 1 1/2 cups dried haricot beans (or 2 cans of cannellini, navy, great northern or chickpeas)
- 12 french trimmed lamb shanks
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium red onions, chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 1/2 cups beef stock
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups polenta
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind, extra
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
- [Skip this step if using canned] Cover beans with cold water in a large bowl, Stand overnight; drain
- Coat lamb in flour; shake off excess. Heat oil in large saucepan; cook lamb in batches, until browned all over. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring until onion is soft. Add spices to pan; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Stir in beans, rind, juice, undrained tomatoes, stock and paste; bring to a boil. Add lamb shanks, reduce heat, simmer, covered, 40 minutes. Uncover; simmer about 50 minutes or until lamb and beans are tender.
- Heat the water and milk in a large saucepan (do not boil). Add polenta; cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and polenta softens.
- Serve lamb mixture on polenta; sprinkle with combined extra rind, parsley and coriander.
Notes on this recipe:
- If you used canned beans, like I did, then they’ll mostly dissolve during the cooking, which helps thicken the sauce. This is not a bad thing, in fact it is quite tasty.
- The stock from this dish is deliciously lamb-y. I saved it, with the left over lamb, and froze it, and hope to use it as the base for a mostly vegetable pasta dish (when our resident vegetarian is not eating at home, obviously).
- Definitely go for the french-trimmed lamb shanks.
Pumpkin tagine with date couscous
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large brown onion, sliced thickly
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chilli
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 5 cups coarsely chopped pumpkin
- 1 cup frozen broad beans, thawed, peeled
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped seeded dates
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh coriander
- 50g butter, chopped coarsely
- 2 cups couscous
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped seeded dates
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion, garlic and spices; cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add stock and pumpkin, bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until pumpkin is almost tender.
- Uncover; simmer 5 minutes or until pumpkin mixture thickens slightly.
- Meanwhile, make date couscous
- Add remaining ingredients to pumpkin mixture; cook, stirring, until heated through.
- Serve pumpkin tagine with couscous.
- Combine butter, couscous and water in a large heatproof bowl, cover; stand about 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, fluffing with a fork occasionally. Stir in dates and coriander.
Notes on this recipe:
- I seem to have very hot chilli powder at the moment, so this was a bit hotter than I expected. That aside, this dish was very tasty, the pumpkins had soaked up the stock nicely and the spices all worked together nicely.
- I don’t like broad beans or dates overly much, and they worked very well in this dish.