Home Cooking Made Easy p112.
I think Lorraine has some sort of a pear obsession, because there are six recipes in this book featuring pears. Contrast that with only one apple recipe, and you get a woman whose fruit priorities are seriously skewed.Having said that, the pears are a wonderful addition to this tagine. It’s a great dish for Sunday lunch as I will explain below, but would also be good for entertaining, because you can leave it to cook while you chat to your friends.
As Lorraine ruefully notes, the ingredient list is quite long, but I found I had most of it in the cupboard anyway. I missed out the (optional) juniper berries, but I had the rest of the spices. I used less lamb than Lorraine stipulated – 600g rather than 700g. This is partly because I can’t afford it, but mainly because Tesco sells packs of 300g diced lamb.
I like the way Lorraine’s recipes are cooking for beginners. Instead of just saying “Coat the lamb in seasoned flour,” she actually suggests you need 100g flour to coat it. My precise mind quite likes this. If you’re more of a Jamie Oliver “chuck a handful of this in a bowl” kind of a person, then you might like to know you’ll need about this much flour:
The lamb, onion, garlic and spices get fried and coated and then tomatoes and stock are added. This mixture then simmers for an hour. But, I was going out to church, so I put it in the oven at a low heat for two hours. I added a bit more water to be sure it didn’t dry out, but this turned out not to be needed really. Then you add pears and chickpeas for a final 15 minutes and serve with couscous. Lorraine suggests cooking the couscous in stock and serving with toasted pine nuts. I learned today that pine nuts are in fact not nuts (the packet says Does Not Contain Nuts), but seeds. I toasted them in the oven as the tagine was cooking. You really need to keep an eye on them because there’s a fine line between toasted and charred.
The tagine and couscous tasted great. I might slightly reduce the amount of garam masala, but there was something pleasing about the amounts of spices all being 1 teaspoon! Lorraine commands that it should be served with a hot pot of Moroccan mint tea. I think that mint tea is a product of The Fall, being a twisted perversion of the good gift of tea, but I couldn’t quite disobey Lorraine so flagrantly, so I served it with a (sealed) box of mint tea.
Excellent recipe, definitely food that nurtures.