Constantine tagine recipe, Gordon Ramsay’s Best North African Restaurant

Chefs at Azou prepared this North African dish to compete for the title of Ramsay’s Best North African Restaurant

Serves 4

I have left the original recipe below but to be honest some of it is a total waste of time. Making a lamb stock and then not using it?! We just made the veg stock and if we did have lamb bones (which we didn’t) then we would have just made the lamb stock – it is the same but with lamb bones. The dish also really missed some sweetness so I have chucked in a few dried apricots – you can choose which fruit you want, if any, but the whole thing just felt dry spicy without. I have re-written the recipe for me and below is the original.

EDITED RECIPE

The stock this can be made in advance: Chop and sweat 2 onions, 2 stalks celery, 2 carrots, 3 red peppers, 4 potatoes, and 1 turnip or half a sweed. Once soft add 3 cloves garlic and 4 tbsp tomato puree and fry off for a couple of minutes, next add 2 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp paprika, 1 bunch coriander, 1 bunch parsley, and 2 tsp mixed herbs – you can also add a kilo of roast lamb bones at this stage too but it is optional. Top up with cold water – around 2 litres and simmer for an hour.

Strain the stock through muslin or a fine sieve pushing it down to release the stock from the vegetables, Taste and season the stock then place in the fridge to cool.

For the lamb, Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 then rub 4 lamb shanks (or equivalent lamb shoulder) with 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tbsp tomato purée. Add 570ml of the already made stock (above) and a handful of dried apricots and cook in a casserole with a tight fitting lid for around 3 hours.

At some point during this cooking time deep fry 4 peeled and quartered medium potatoes ready for the final dish.

After the 3 hours is up, carefully remove the meat from the pan and reserve. Now, to the cooking liquor, add 1 bunch of finely chopped coriander, 400ml more of the vegetable stock and 2 tsp harissa and cook to thicken – season to taste.

To serve, add the potatoes and meat back into the pan or into a new vessel for the table and serve with simple boiled bulgar wheat, Greek style yogurt and the semolina bread (below).

 

ORIGINAL RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

For the lamb stock

  • lamb bones and trimmings
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 potatoes, chopped
  • 2 turnips, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs

For the vegetable stock

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 potatoes, chopped
  • 2 turnips, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs

For the lamb

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 570ml water
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp harissa
  • lamb stock, if needed
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Oil, for deep frying

For the bread

  • 700g fine semolina
  • 150ml plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tbsp yeast
  • 70ml cooking oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp cooking oil, 1 tsp water and 1 tsp sugar

For the hammis

  • 2 onions
  • 250ml olive oil
  • 200g green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • 3 green peppers (optional)

For the couscous

  • 250g medium couscous
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

To serve

  • Coriander, chopped

METHOD

How to make Constantine tajine

1. For the lamb stock, brown the bones and trimmings in a hot oven. Add some oil to a large stockpot and sauté the vegetables until soft. Add the garlic, tomato purée, spices and herbs and cover everything with water. Cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour, or until reduced. Strain and set aside until needed.

2. For the vegetable stock, start by sautéing the vegetables then proceed as above. Simmer only for 30 minutes before straining.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Arrange the lamb shanks in a roasting tin and add the water, cumin, ginger, paprika, tomato purée and seasoning to taste. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 2¾-3 hours.

4. Remove from the oven and lift the lamb out of the roasting tin. Add the coriander, vegetable stock and harissa to the sauce in the pan and mix together. Bring to the boil then simmer gently, adding extra lamb stock if the sauce is too thick.

5. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender to the point of a knife. Drain well and steam dry. Heat some oil to 180°C in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Deep fry the potatoes until golden then drain and simmer in the sauce for a few minutes.

6. To make the bread, place the semolina, flour and salt in a bowl. Mix the yeast with a little tepid water and add to the dry ingredients. Add the oil and enough tepid water to achieve a dough consistency. Add the egg and knead for 10-12 minutes, or 5-10 minutes using the dough hook of a mixer. Flour a clean surface, divide the dough into four and shape into circles flattened to 1.5cm. Place on a baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Brush the top of the bread with the egg wash and cook the bread on baking trays for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

7. To make the hammis, puree the onions in a food processor. Heat a little oil in a pan and gently sweat the onion, spices and some seasoning for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Add a little more olive oil and stir from time to time. Season to taste and stir in the coriander just before serving.

8. To make the couscous, toss the couscous in a large bowl with a good pinch salt and 2 tbsp olive oil. Slowly add 570ml water, mixing until the grains are separate. Steam for 5 minutes in a couscoussière or steamer lined with muslin. Return the couscous to the bowl, add 75ml water and a little more olive oil and mix again. Repeat the steaming process twice more. Separate the grains once more with a fork before serving with the tagine, scattered with coriander.

Tip: For cold hammis, bake the peppers in a hot oven until the skins blister. Cool in bowl then peel and chop the flesh. Mix the flesh and juice into the hammis, cook for 5-6 minutes, then cool. Cover with olive oil and refrigerate until needed.


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