Slow Cooked Leftover Lamb Tagine

Lamb TagineFor those lamb lovers this is a great recipe to use up your leftover lamb from Easter and also, to make stock from any bones that might be left. As I have mentioned before we only have meat about twice a week. When we do eat it we prefer to buy it from our local organic butchers. Now, I realise that not everybody will have this luxury on their front door step but I do believe the higher quality of meat the better it is for your body.

Lamb that has been factory bred will not have the same nutrients as a grass fed lamb because it will have been fed cheap food. They are also kept indoors away from sunlight and the mothers are fed hormones to make them produce more lambs each year. These cheap foods, hormones and being kept away from sunlight are no substitute for grass fed lambs.

Grass fed lamb will have a better quality of life and they live on what is natural to them. Therefore, I feel the meat is of a better quality.  If you were kept indoors, fed hormones and cheap food would you be happy or healthy? We all know that eating a healthy diet helps us to be healthier people. So if the food we are eating is being fed rubbish then we are feeding ourselves that rubbish too.

Eating organic or better quality not only helps the animals and the environment but it also helps our bodies. If the animal, in this instance the lamb, has had a good life it will have higher quality protein and a better source of iron. A serving of lamb can provide us with 45% of the daily recommended amount of zinc and they are a great source of B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for the metabolic reactions in the body.

Organic grass fed lamb is much better for you and making stock from the bones will be full of amazing minerals. Broth (technically called stock) is mineral rich. It is made by boiling the bones of the animal, preferably organic, with vegetables and herbs. Stock made from any animal is known to boost the immune system. If your grandmother ever made you chicken soup from the bones of Sunday lunch it will have made a big impact on your body.

Firstly it can improve the digestive system. It’s also high in magnesium, calcium and phosphorus which makes it great for bone and tooth health. Broth can also support joints, hair, skin and nails due to it’s high collagen content. It is brilliant for your digestion, allergies, immune health and much more.

Let’s think about the animal kingdom for a moment. Lions, tigers and other large mammals will hunt, kill and eat their prey. However, they don’t just eat the meat, they will chew the bones as well. The bones are the most nourishing part. These animals save the best till last. (I’m not suggesting you chew the bones, you may find a few broken teeth!) However, I am helping you make the most from your organic piece of meat. It’s also another way to save money by making it yourself. Healthy and it puts pounds back into your purse.

Makes 2 – 3 litres (Depending on the size of your slow cooker)

Equipment needed

  • Slow cooker
  • Sharp Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Ladle
  • Colander
  • Jug
  • Muffin tins

Ingredients for making the stock

  • Leftover lamb leg bone
  • Leek x 1 large
  • Carrots x 2
  • Celery x 2 sticks and leaves if possible
  • Garlic x 4 cloves
  • Water x 2 – 3 litres depending on the size of slow cooker
  • Peppercorns
  • Bay leaves x 2

Method

  • Start by washing and cutting your vegetables.
  • Place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Put the lamb leg bone on top and pour over the water.
  • Turn on the slow cooker.
  • On high for four hours and low for six hours. If you’re busy put it on automatic and leave it for at least eight hours or more if you’re not ready to remove the stock.
  • In fact, the longer you leave the stock in the slow cooker, the more nutrients you will get from it.
  • Use the colander and jug to filter the stock once it has cooked.
  • Leave to cool. Then pour into the muffin tins and store in the freezer.
  • Once frozen remove from the tins and put the chunks of stock in zip tie bags.
  • For more details please see the chicken stock recipe on this blog.

Equipment needed for slow cooker tagine

  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Colander
  • Slow Cooker
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Frying pan (if using lean lamb meat)
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients for the tagine

  • Leftover lamb meat x 500g or lean lamb meat x 500g
  • Lamb stock x 300mls
  • Cumin x 2 tsp
  • Coriander x 2 tsp
  • Cinnamon x 1/2 tsp
  • Hot chilli powder x 1/2 tsp
  • Onion x 1 medium
  • Garlic cloves x 2
  • Tinned tomatoes x 400g
  • Chickpeas x 400g
  • Dried apricots (pre soaked) x 100g
  • Sweet potato x 1 small about 300g
  • Date syrup x 2 tbsp
  • Spinach x 1 bag
  • Coconut oil x 1 tbsp if using the hob or cooking lean lamb meat.

Method for the slow cooker

  • Start by peeling the sweet potato, chopping the onion, garlic, and apricots, if necessary. Open and drain the chickpeas into a colander.
  • Place all the ingredients into the slow cooker, apart from the lamb and spinach.
  • Turn the slow cooker on a high heat for four hours and a low heat for six hours but if needing longer set to automatic until ready to eat.
  • Thirty minutes before serving add the spinach and lamb.
  • It should heat the lamb through and not cook it again.
  • If using lean lamb meat then heat the frying pan on a medium heat and melt the oil.
  • Then cook the lean lamb meat until browned and then add to the cooker 30 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with rice or couscous to serve and enjoy.

Equipment needed for hob

  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Colander
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Large saucepan
  • Stirring spoon.

Method for the hob.

  • Start by peeling the sweet potato, chopping the onion, garlic and apricots if necessary. Open and drain the chickpeas into a colander.
  • Turn the hob onto a medium heat and melt the coconut oil.
  • Add the onions and garlic to the pan, then fry until soft.
  • (If using lean lamb meat add it to the pan and fry until browned on the outside.)
  • Next add the spices and fry for a further two minutes.
  • Pour over the lamb stock, bring to the boil and leave to simmer.
  • Once the ingredients are simmering, add the date syrup, chickpeas, apricots and sweet potato.
  • Leave to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.
  • Finally, add the cooked meat (if using) and the spinach.
  • Then leave for five minutes until the spinach has wilted and the cooked lamb has heated through.
  • Serve with rice or couscous and enjoy.

If you can’t buy organic grass fed lamb, then you can always buy good quality. My top tip would be to speak to your butcher about where the meat comes from and how it is treated. Some farmers will use organic methods when rearing their animals but will not be certified as organic. If they don’t know where their meat comes from then don’t buy from them. Remember better quality meat is better for the animal, the environment and our bodies.