I absolutely love playing about with recipes. That's one of my favourite things about cooking. Trying a substitute ingredient because you've forgotten to buy cumin, or adding more cheese because you've got an odd end of Stilton that needs using. The very worst that can happen is that you have to have chippy tea.
This spicy lamb dish is the result of my love of slow cooking and a little bit of playing about. I don't often cook with lamb but my interest was piqued by this BBC Food lamb pilau. While I liked the idea of spicy lamb and rice (who wouldn't?), the short cooking times and lack of spices didn't sound right for my tastes. So I tweaked and played and added a whole new bunch of spices into the dish and let my casserole dish work its magic. The result is rich, spicy, and beautifully scented rice, dotted with sweet fruit and tender lamb.
Moroccan lamb rice (serves 3-4)
- 600g diced lamb
- 1 onion
- 1 pint lamb stock
- 12 dried apricots
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp of Ras el hanout
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 green chillies, chopped
- 30g tomato puree
- 750g Basmati rice
- 100g natural yoghurt
- Handful of mint,chopped
- Flaked almonds
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees/gas mark 2.
- Fry the onion until softened, then season and brown the diced lamb in the same pan.
- Throw in a casserole dish with the stock, cinnamon, apricots, garlic and ras el hanout.
- Leave in the oven for an hour, reply to funny things on Twitter.
- Stir and taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed and then add the two of the chillies and tomato puree and pop back in the oven for another hour.
- When you're starving hungry, add your rice and pop the lid back on. Check on it in about seven minutes - it will have soaked up a lot of the water. Add some more if your rice isn't quite cooked (up to a pint should do it) so you don't soak everything up and burn your dinner. The flavour is already there, a little more water won't dilute it.
- Stir the chopped mint through the rice and serve in your favourite bowls.
- Add a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkling of flaked almonds and the rest of the chopped chilli. Pomegranate seeds would also look beautiful and complement the flavours brilliantly.
Top tip: Unfortunately, this doesn't reheat very well - you need to add more water to the rice and it goes a bit like an odd risotto. Which means you'll just have to have seconds if there's some left. Oh no, that's terrible.