Preparation time: 60 minutes
The essence of this dish is the combination of sweet and hot elements. Avoid the urge to cook the lamb too quickly. The slow, gentle cooking is the key to a tender and juicy stew with an almost glaze-like sauce.
Serve it with Harissa, the hot chili paste that is a hallmark of North African cooking, available at Whole Foods and most Middle Eastern stores.
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 ground ginger
- 3 lbs (1 kg 350 g) good quality lamb shoulder, cleaned from excessive fat and sinews and cut into chunky pieces
- 1 large onion (about 1 cup – 225 g) coarsely chopped onion
- 4 garlic cloves, finely slivered
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups (830 ml) beef stock
- 6 tomatoes, peeled and chopped coarsely
- 1 cup (225 g) stoned dried apricots
- 1 cup (225 g) stoned dried prunes
- 1 untreated lemon, juiced and rind grated
- 4 Tbsp cilantro (fresh coriander leaves), chopped
- Harissa to serve (optional)
Mix cinnamon, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper and rub it into the lamb chunks. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and sauté lamb pieces for 3-5 minutes or until they begin to brown. Stir in onion and garlic and cook for further 5 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add the beef stock, chopped tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add apricots and prunes. Cook lamb for about 30-45 minutes or until fork-tender stirring once in a while and watching that apricots and prunes do not get too soft. If sauce gets too thick, add a bit more stock or water.
Just before serving add lemon juice and rind. Stir to combine. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves) and serve it with Harissa on the side.