WITH Easter fast approaching it’s time to start planning the menu if you’re hosting the family at your house this year. Lamb is the primary choice of meat at Easter, a European tradition that dates back centuries, and a large joint or one-pot dish is perfect for sharing if you’ve got a few friends gathered together.

If you’re looking for a different spin on lamb this Easter then you can’t go wrong with my lamb tagine, using lamb shoulder which is full of flavour and beautifully tender after slow cooking. It’s also a more affordable option if you’re cooking for a few people. You can buy it already diced or ask you butcher to do it for you.

Today’s recipe is one of my go-to dishes if I want something really tasty, filling and different - and it never fails to impress. The slow cooking creates a lovely gravy, full of meaty, robust flavour which contrasts beautifully with the fruity tang of the apricots and spices.

A traditional Moroccan lamb tagine is cooked in a conical earthenware pot of the same name but if you don’t have one of these, a regular casserole dish is perfectly adequate.

Serve with some fluffy couscous or flatbread (or both if you wish) and compliment the meal with a full bodied red wine for a real luxurious celebratory dinner.


(serves 6)

1kg diced lamb shoulder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp hot paprika

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp ground black pepper

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp flour

2 onions, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

6cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 cans chopped tomatoes (400g each)

10-12 dried apricots, cut into quarters

1 tbsp tomato puree

750ml lamb (or chicken) stock

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp natural yoghurt

50g toasted almonds

Fresh coriander and fresh mint leaves to serve

Salt & pepper

Marinate the lamb in the ground spices for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160c/320F/Gas 3.

Heat half the oil in a large, heavy bottomed casserole dish or oven-proof pan.

Sprinkle the marinated lamb with the flour then cook in batches for a few minutes until the meat is sealed and browned. Set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the onions over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another few minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes.

Gently scrape the bottom of the dish to loosen any bits of meat then add the lamb, tomato puree, apricots and honey, followed by the stock.

Give everything a good stir then add the cinnamon sticks and salt and pepper before turning up the heat and bringing to the boil.

Cover the dish with a tight fitting lid and cook in a pre-heated oven for 2½-3 hours or until the meat is tender. You might need to give it a stir halfway through cooking just to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the dish.

To serve, drizzle with a little yoghurt and scatter with the toasted almonds and chopped herbs.