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Rhubarb tagine

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Rhubarb and Lamb Tagine

Both Moroccan and Persian culinary traditions use a range of fruits to complement subtly spiced meat dishes and the astringency of rhubarb perfectly balances the richness of lamb. You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb for this dish but choose red or pink stalks for an attractive appearance. Though the cooking time is long, the preparation is minimal so you will have plenty of time to yourself while the dish is cooking.

Serves 3                                                                     Time taken 2½ - 4 hours

rhubarb tagine pic500g diced shoulder of lamb
200g trimmed rhubarb
200ml water
1 onion
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and freshly ground pepper

A clay tagine which demands long, very slow cooking, will bring out the best of the flavours from the ingredients but a heavy bottomed pan or casserole will do fine. For this style of dish the meat is not browned first but the long cooking creates its own richness
Trim any very fatty bits off the lamb and put it into your tagine or pan. Trim and chop half the rhubarb and scatter it over the lamb. Chop the onion and add it to the meat. Pour over the water and add the ginger, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Set on a very low heat, as gentle as gas or electricity will go, and cook for 2 hours if using a metal pan, at least 3 hours and preferably 4 if using a clay tagine. The rhubarb and onion will dissolve into the sauce, which should be much reduced, and the meat should be soft enough to eat with a spoon.
15 minutes before serving chop the remaining rhubarb into small, even sized pieces and stir in to the tagine, allow it to soften but do not let it disintegrate. Check the sauce, and add salt if necessary.
For authenticity serve a tagine with flat “pitta-style” bread but I have to admit that I prefer it with cous-cous.