Nearly all stews start with chopped onion. This is the lazy person's version, which uses some caramelized onion out of a jar instead (though if you've made some of your own onion mush, do use that). And I add to the desirable idleness by not even searing the meat. I just tip everything into a big pan and let it do its own sweet thing without any interference from me. I don't actually cook this in a tagine - though often serve it in one - but ever since someone told me that in Morocco most tagines are made in pressure cookers, I have felt unembarrassed by calling something cooked in a pan a tagine. And by all means use a pressure cooker if you're that way inclined. I've tried them, but always return to pots and pans that don't hiss at me. I prefer to cook this in a low oven rather than on the stove, but a licking simmer would do as well. Like all stews, it benefits by being cooked in advance, so it makes sense to cook this on a day when you've got time, and eat it - reheating it on the stove, all of it, or in batches as suits - when you're in more of a hurry. The quickest, and most suitable, accompaniment is a bowl of couscous, pale and plain or studded with a can or two of chickpeas.
- 2 1/4 pounds diced leg of lamb
- 1 head garlic, separated into cloves
- 12 ounces pitted black olives in brine, 5 ounces drained weight to give 1 1/4 cups
- 1/2 cup caramelized onions from a jar
- 4 tablespoons capers
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 bottle red wine
Preheat the oven to 150C/300 degrees F.
Put all of the ingredients into a casserole or heavy based pan, pouring in the wine last and giving everything a good stir.
Bring the pan to a boil, then clamp on the lid and put into the oven for 2 hours or until the lamb is very tender.