First things first – despite the name, this isn’t a tagine. Nigella describes it as such in Express but we just cooked it in a big casserole pot – if memory serves, so does she.
We were lacking one ingredient – caramelised onions – which I’ve never been able to find in a supermarket. So after a quick Google search I made my own, cooking chopped red onion over a low heat in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt until softened, then adding a teaspoon of caster sugar and a glug of balsamic vinegar and cooking some more. The recipes online said it should take about 45 minutes – maybe it was the small volume I was making, but mine only seemed to take about 20 minutes.
With that done, the recipe is incredibly simple. Add diced lamb, black olives, some whole cloves of garlic and some capers to the pot. Then throw in a bit of ground ginger and ground cumin before pouring the best part of a bottle of (cheap!) red wine over it. Bring to the boil on the hob, then transfer to the oven at 150ºC for a couple of hours. To serve, I just did a bit of couscous with a small tin of chickpeas thrown into it.
The end result was amazing. The lamb was so incredibly tender and the flavours were out of this world. This comes from the “Quick, Quick, Slow, Slow” chapter of Nigella Express and it really is quick to prepare. The toughest part is waiting two hours as your home fills with the most amazing smell of lamb and wine.
I had grand plans to follow this with a custardy Eton mess with home made custard and meringue, but a burst water pipe in the bathroom meant we had to put that plan on hold!