Based on the Moroccan way of stewing meat with fruit, here lamb is marinated with mushrooms and herbs, then cooked slowly with dried apricots. Shredded cabbage and fresh mint enliven the couscous accompaniment.
450 g lean boneless lamb, cut into chunks
350 g mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups strong brown ale
1 can (415 g) no-salt-added chopped tomatoes
150 ml reduced-salt lamb or chicken stock
150 g dried apricots, halved
pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley to garnish
3 cups boiling reduced-salt vegetable stock
450 g green cabbage, such as Savoy, finely shredded
350 g couscous
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
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Place the lamb in a bowl with the mushrooms and onion. Tie the bay leaves and thyme together into a bouquet garni and add to the bowl with the garlic, carrots, celery and nutmeg. Pour over the ale and stir to mix, then cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Transfer the lamb, mushrooms and flavouring ingredients to a large casserole and pour the marinade over. Add the tomatoes and the stock. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours.
Discard the bouquet garni from the casserole. Stir in the apricots and pepper and return the casserole to the oven to cook for a further 30 minutes.
Just before the casserole is ready, prepare the couscous. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the cabbage and bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat and immediately add the couscous and mint. Stir once, then cover the pan and leave, off the heat, for about 5 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed all the stock. Use a fork to fluff up the couscous.
Divide the couscous among 4 bowls and ladle the lamb casserole over the top. Scatter over the chopped parsley and serve immediately while hot.
Combining cabbage and mint with couscous adds flavour and beneficial nutrients to the satisfying carbohydrate.