Lamb shank tagine, green and black peppered beef

This week, two recipes packed full of spice and flavour: a melt–in–the–mouth Moroccan lamb tagine and a green and black peppered beef that makes for the perfect Friday night dinner.

There has been a real increase in Moroccan–influenced dishes, due mainly to London–based Israeli celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi and his love of brilliant, flavour–forward dishes; as a result, we have introduced a themed class into our cookery school calendar (see cookinbelfast.co.uk).


Lamb shank tagine (Serves up to 4 )

1 tablesp rapeseed oil

4 lamb shanks

2 onions, chopped

1 aubergine, finely chopped

1–inch ginger, peeled and grated

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 pinch ground cinnamon

2 teasp paprika

1 teasp ground turmeric

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 pinch saffron

600ml stock, vegetable or chicken (enough to cover the meat when cooking)

15 dried apricots, chopped

1 lemon, zested

For the garnish:

ground black pepper

5 tablesp flaked almonds

1 bunch parsley, destalked and chopped

Preheat the oven to 160C. Place a large casserole dish on the hob on a gentle heat; add the oil and, once bubbling add the meat. Once browned, remove meat from the pan and turn the heat down to a simmer.

Add in the onions and aubergine and cook for five minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir while cooking. Return the meat to the pan and add the cinnamon, paprika and turmeric.

Add the chopped tomatoes, saffron, stock and dried apricots and give everything a good stir. Place the lid on the dish and place in the oven for 90 minutes. Check every now and again, making sure the meat is covered with the liquid – if not, top up with water. Skim off any fat sitting on top any time you check the dish.

Once cooked, the meat should be falling off the bone. If not, return to the oven for further cooking. When ready, add in the lemon zest and cook for a further five minutes.

To serve, toast the flaked almonds on a dry pan, placing on top and garnishing with the black pepper and the herbs. Serve with roasted potatoes or couscous.


Green and black peppered beef (Serves 4)

2 tablesp black peppercorns

450g beef fillet, sliced into cubes

2 tablesp oyster sauce

1 tablesp chinese rice wine

2 teasp light soy sauce

1 teasp sesame oil

2 teasp corn flour

2 tablesp water mixed with 1 teasp corn flour

3 teasp groundnut oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 green pepper, cubed

1 onion, diced

120ml chicken stock

Place the black peppercorns in a mortar and crush. Place the oyster sauce, rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil into a bowl and mix thoroughly with the peppercorns. Place the beef in the bowl and coat in the mixture. Clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least two hours.

When ready to cook, place your wok on the hob and add in the groundnut oil. Once hot add the beef only, leaving the marinade in the bowl. Add in the garlic, green peppers and onion and stir fry.

Once cooked through (which should only take minutes), add in the marinade and stock, stirring in the corn flour to thicken the sauce. Serve with steamed rice and green vegetables.

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