We are in the most fortunate position, at Green Spoon, of having a butcher who is also a chef. It makes for long delivery times when Jack comes himself, as we can't help but get into conversation about all manner of things. For Jack, the passion is not just about the meat, or the animal it comes from, but also the way in which you cook it. I'm learning fast from him that some cuts require a lot more tender care (excuse the pun) than others; and that there are recipes that denote specific cooking times for a reason. It's not guesswork, it's genius. And that genius must be followed or else some cuts simply won't shine the way they should.
Last time Jack popped in, we were celebrating. He's just got himself a brand new delivery van which is très chic. He reckons I won't be able to resist when I see it in action. I have seen it in action, and I'm finding it hard not to dream about a meat van, with cooling. This is the kind of chat we have. Around recipes, and meat, and the fun of being an entrepreneur. Anyway, I digress. We were celebrating. So I gave Jack a couple of bottles of wine, in exchange for one of his über delicious recipes, which is the WHB Tagine of Lamb, for greenspoon.
1.5 kg lamb dice
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tbs ground ginger
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 generous pinch of saffron
1 generous pinch of salt
50 ml olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
150g diced figs, soaked in water
2 tablespoons honey
50g almond butter
3 tbs chopped coriander
Whole fresh coriander leaves for garnish
Mix cinnamon, ginger, pepper, saffron and salt with 4 tablespoons water. Toss the lamb in this mixture. If you have time, leave to marinade for up to 24 hours.
Heat the oil in a wide pan. Add the lamb, onions, garlic, salt and enough water to come two-thirds the way up the meat. Bring up to the boil, cover and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for an hour and a half, turning the lamb occasionally until the meat is meltingly tender. Add the soaked figs with their water, the honey and half the coriander. Continue simmering for a further 30 minutes or so, uncovered and stirring often until the sauce is thick and the meat is falling apart. Stir in the almond butter and the remaining coriander, taste and adjust. Garnish with the whole coriander leaves.