Wednesday, 17 August 2011

My Moroccan lamb and squash tagine with couscous

This is my cheat’s Moroccan lamb and squash tagine – it’s a cheat because it’s done like a casserole as I don’t own a tagine, and I don’t know many people who do, so the recipe is one everyone can try. It’s best done in a slow cooker if you have one so the lamb stays really tender.
The recipe uses butternut squash to give it sweetness and texture, and it makes it a healthier option too. Plus it looks pretty and colourful! Forgot to take a photo again!
Squash is coming into season now so it’s the best time to use it, or wait a few weeks and pick up a pumpkin instead – a perfect way to use them up after Halloween!   
If you have a slow cooker you can put it together in the morning and leave it for a good eight hours or more so the lamb is tender and delicious.
The best thing about these slow-cooked recipes is that you can prepare them early, stick them in the oven, tidy up and still have a couple of hours free to spend how you wish.
I decided to do this in the oven as I didn’t have time to plan ahead for the slow cooker version, and I definitely noticed the difference, the lamb wasn’t as tender. It was still very tasty though and the meat wasn't tough. Maybe I browned it for too long? If anyone has any tips, or their own tried and tested recipe, please let me know and I’ll give it a go!
I served the dish with herby lemon couscous, hummus and warm pitta breads.
It’s a recipe I’ve done before, and too be honest it changes every time! It’s one you can adapt to suit what’s in your fridge as long as you keep the basic spices the same.
This is the recipe I used…


2 tbsp olive oil
500g lean lamb, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
½ chilli powder (for easier option: use Asda’s Moroccan ‘Reason to Season’)
230g chopped tomatoes
300g butternut squash (or pumpkin), diced
350ml beef stock
50g sultanas
50g dried apricots
1 tbsp cornflour

250g/9oz couscous
Juice of one lemon
350ml hot vegetable stock
1 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp freshly chopped mint

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan assisted), or use slow cooker.
Slightly brown the lamb with the oil in a frying pan then set aside.
Add the rest of the oil to the pan and lightly fry the onion. Add the spices then tomatoes and cook until simmering. Put into a casserole dish or slow cooker along with the stock and squash. (Scoop out seeds from the squash, peel and cut into 2cm dices).
Cook in oven for about 2 ½ hours or slow cooker for several hours.
About 30 minutes from the end of cooking time, stir in the sultanas and apricots. Five minutes from the end, stir in the cornflour (mixed with a little water) and cook to thicken.

Put the couscous in a bowl and add lemon juice and stock. Cover with clingfilm and set aside for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Season and stir in the fresh herbs.

Serve with hummus and pitta breads. (Drizzle olive over breads, season, wrap in foil and put in oven for 10 minutes.)


  1. I am totally gonna try this!! I love Moroccan food but also don't have a tagine. And as winter gets closer I look forward to using my slow cooker more often... partly because I'm a lazy cook but mainly because I'm an extremely hardworking and under appreciated teacher!!

    Great advice for term time food! Thank you! I'll let you know how it goes...

  2. I can vouch for this recipe. Very nice!

  3. Sounds good. I was given a slow cooker a while back and have never used it, not sure what I'm doing. This sounds lovely and if u can slow cook it all the better :) x