Lamb, rhubarb & asparagus tagine

Yes you read that right – RHUBARB.  Rhubarb is a vegetable – why do we usually sweeten it and use in puddings???  Its naturally tart so perfect in savoury dishes, I like particularly cooked long and slow like this.

1 of my favourite recipes, ideal for the Spring when still cold but wanting fresh new seasonal foods.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil—I used rapeseed
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • root ginger, chopped —approx. top of thumb size
  • 2 heaped tsp of ground cumin & ground coriander
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 handful fresh coriander
  • 800g cubed lamb shoulder—best quality you can afford—trimmed of excess fat
  • 100g chopped dried fruit of your choice
  • 4 carrots chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 8 (approx.) spears of asparagus

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a medium pan, fry onion gently for 5 mins.
  2. Add the garlic, celery, ginger, then stir & fry for 5 mins.
  3. Add the ground spices (cumin, coriander & chilli). Stir really well for 2 mins until the flavours are released.  Tip into the slow cooker.
  4. Season to taste
  5. To the slow cooker add all the other ingredients except the asparagus and chickpeas, + refill the empty tin of tomatoes with water.
  6. All slow cookers vary, I did an hour on high to get it going, then 7 hours on low
  7. If you think there is too much liquid leave the lid lifted for a while.
  8. Add the chickpeas & asparagus 1 hour before eating.
  9. Season again. Serve with your some grains & fresh spinach (optional)

Options

  • Can add a meat stock cube if you like
  • Can swap the lamb for a robust fish like salmon, cut into big chunks.  Add with the chickpeas & asparagus for the final hour
  • Vegan? —try firm tofu or tempeh

Servings:

6

Ready In:

25 mins prep + 8 hours slow cook

Good For:

Spring

Health Benefits

Lamb (grass-fed) is 1 of the top sources of Vitamin B-12.  B12 can only be obtained from animal foods, a lack of it (folate deficiency)  is a concern for vegans and does need to be supplemented.  Lamb is also a great source of selenium, protein, B3 and zinc.  Surprisingly, whilst lamb is thought of as 1 of the fattiest meats, about 40% of the fat in lamb is not saturated, and it contains both Omega 3 & 6.

Rhubarb is a vegetable, though commonly thought of as a fruit.  It contains a multitude of nutrients, notably vitamin K, & in large quantities can cause be used to treat diarrhea.    It is usually cooked before eating to make it more palatable, & because raw it contains oxalic acid which is best consumed in small quantities.

Asparagus is a great source of prebiotic fibre due to its woody stems.  High in vitamin E, & a diuretic, which can aid the elimination of water through urine, (some people notice a strange smell after eating).  For this reason historically it was used to treat many kidney problems.

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