Crumpets with Lamb Tagine

This will get your dervishes whirling!



As with all our casseroles, given the effort involved, it's worth doing a fair quantity of this, if you have friends or a freezer.

Preparation: 45 minutes Serves: 24 crumpets
Cooking: 3 hours Unbuttered crumpets
Ingredients Quantity (metric) Quantity (imperial)
Leg of lamb (trimmed and cubed) (trimmed weight) 1.2 kg 2.65 lb
Ground cayenne pepper 1.5 tbsp 1.5 tbsp
Ground black pepper 1.5 tbsp 1.5 tbsp
Ground ginger 3 tbsp 3 tbsp
Ground turmeric 2 tbsp 2 tbsp
Ground cinnamon 2 tbsp 2 tbsp
Ground coriander 2 tsp 2 tsp
Salt Plenty Plenty
Large white onions (finely chopped) 3 3
Garlic cloves (finely chopped) 4 4
Rapeseed or groundnut oil 3 tbsp 3 tbsp
Tinned chopped tomatoes 800 g 1.75 lb
Tomato puree 4 tbsp 4 tbsp
Beef stock 600 ml 1 pint
Dried apricots (roughly chopped) 115 g 4 oz
Dried dates (roughly chopped) 115 g 4 oz
Flaked almonds 115 g 4 oz
Fresh ginger (peeled and roughly chopped) 6 tbsp 6 tbsp
Cinnamon sticks (4 cm, 1.5 inches) 6 6
Salt and pepper Plenty Plenty
Tinned chick peas (thoroughly rinsed and drained) (undrained weight) 1.2 kg 2.65 lb
Fresh coriander (finely chopped) 4 tbsp 4 tbsp
Fresh flat leaf parsley (finely chopped) 2 tbsp 2 tbsp
Red onion (halved and finely sliced) 2 2
Cucumber (cored and cut into fine batons) 1 1
Red pepper (cored and chopped) 2 2
Fresh coriander (to garnish) 3 tbsp 3 tbsp


      The lamb

      1. In the spirit of absolute candour, we're not big fans of lamb in the Crumpetman household. Most recipes for a lamb tagine would use a fattier part of the lamb (eg. shoulder) but this makes for a lambier taste as well as fattier food - so we prefer leg. We also trim it to buggery. This takes time and patience, so feel free to skip this part if you're less discerning than we are.
      2. The lamb benefits from being marinated. If you have the time and energy to do this, mix half the ground spices and salt in a large bowl, add the trimmed lamb and coat as much of it as possible in the spice mixture. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for a few hours (ideally overnight).

      The tagine

      1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C / 300F. If you don't have an oven, just cook the tagine on the hob.
      2. Put the ground spices (either all, or the remaining half, if you've marinated the lamb) into a large casserole dish or tagine, mix well, and heat gently for 2 or 3 minutes until they start to become fragrant.
      3. Add 1.5 tbsp of the oil and the chopped onions. Heat on a medium to low heat, stirring periodically, for 15 minutes or so, until the onions are soft, but not browned.
      4. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes, then remove from the heat.
      5. Heat the other 1.5 tbsp of oil in a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Add the lamb in batches and fry until browned all over, adding more oil if the pan starts to get dry. Remove each browned batch and add to the casserole dish.
      6. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, beef stock, apricots, dates, almonds, fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks and lots of salt and pepper to the casserole dish and mix well.
      7. Bring to the boil, cover, and put into the oven. Cook for about 2.5 hours, stirring every few minutes.
      8. This is a dish that needs plenty of salt to bring out the flavours, so do keep tasting as you go.
      9. Add the chick peas, mix in well and cook for another 15 minutes.
      10. Mix in the fresh coriander and parsley immediately before serving.

      The crumpets

      1. The tagine has plenty of moisture, so we'd suggest unbuttered crumpets.
      2. If you're feeling indulgent, you could put a nice thick layer of hummus on the crumpets before anything else. 
      3. The other accompaniments are obviously a matter of personal preference. Pimp your heart out.