Goat ‘tagine’ with dates and cranberries

 In Autumn, Meat, Poultry & Game, Mutton/Lamb, Slow Cooked, Stews, Winter

If Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking was the first cookbook that I fell in love with, the second was definitely Diana Henry’s inspiring first volume, Crazy Water Pickled LemonsA book that opened my eyes to the exotic and intoxicating flavours of the Middle East and North Africa, introducing a larder of flavours that had never been known to me. It’s a region whose essence I find myself increasingly drawn to, so many dishes and ingredients like an orchestra which can never have too many players. The same feeling was true when I first discovered ras el hanout in a little store in the French city of Nice, that wonderful blend of spices which dance on the tongue, bringing warmth to the coldest of days.

My sister recently returned from Morocco with a large bag of this golden dust which I’d requested, along with an equally large bag of dried hibiscus flowers. The would be the perfect accompaniment to delicious goat meat from Harris Farm Meats, my ‘tagine’ actually being an aromatic stew cooked in a cast iron casserole dish on the hob. The final addition being confit lemons based on a recipe from my friend Laurence Boischot ‘slice the lemons, pour over olive oil, a little orange blossom water, salt, and the spices you fancy’. Unfortunately I didn’t have the orange blossom water she had recommended, but the end result with black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon was still delightful. The measurements are all a guide, use your own judgement on how much flavour your spice blend has, and how fresh it is, and how big your hands are….

Goat ‘tagine’ with dates and cranberries

For the confit lemon

1 lemon sliced
1tsp cumin
1tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1” cinnamon
Olive oil

For the ‘tagine’

500g diced goat
2 cloves garlic
1 onion cut into half moons
Handful dried hibiscus flowers roughly chopped
2 handfuls pitted dates
1tbsp dried cranberries
1 rounded tbsp ras el hanout
1tsp harissa
30g fresh coriander roughly chopped plus more for serving
1 sprig thyme
3 slices confit lemon
3 tbsp confit lemon oil
1 tsp salt

  1. To make the confit place the lemons in a small dish with sides, earthenware or glass. Shake over the salt and spice (use your imagination here). Pour over the olive oil and leave for at least eight hours, preferably overnight;
  2. In a heavy based casserole dish or cast iron tagine brown the meat over a high heat in a good couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Remove the meat, retaining the oil. Add the onions and garlic and reduce the heat to medium, cook to soften for 4-5 minutes then add the hibiscus, and ras el hanout, and stir;
  3. Cook through for a minute or so then add a tablespoon of the oil from the lemons, and stir again. Reduce the heat to low and add back the meat. Add the dates, cranberries, harrisaa, coriander, and thyme. Place three or four lemon slices on top and add another two tablespoons of the confit lemon oil, and the salt;
  4. Pour over enough water to cover the meat, bring to the boil, then reduce to the lowest heat to simmer for 2-2.5 hours until he goat is cooked, keeping an eye on the liquid level to ensure it doesn’t dry out. Serve with a slice of confit lemon, and chopped coriander garnish.
Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.