Lamb Tagine with Carrots and Celery

Fresh, crisp celery roots add a punch to the sweetness of the carrots in this tagine. Look for the tiny, sweet celery hearts that have very few fibers. If using regular celery bunches, pair them down to the light yellow-green portions within.

Serves 6 people

1.3 kg (2 ½ lbs) lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 3cm (1 ½”) chunks
2 bunches of celery hearts
450g (1 lb) carrots
1 medium onion, grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crashed
½ cup red olives, such as Kalamatas or Gaetas
2 preserved lemon
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon turmeric
pinch of pulverised saffron
2 tablespoons freshly chopped green coriander
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Place the lamb chunks, onion, garlic, spices, herbs and oil in a 5-quart deep casserole. Cover with 225 ml (1/3 pint) water and bring to the boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat, cover and simmer over moderate heat until the meat is tender and the sauce has reduced to a thick gravy, about 1 ½ hours. Turn the meat often and add water whenever necessary.

Prepare the vegetables by separating the celery ribs, cutting away the leaves, and scraping the carrots. Cut both vegetables crosswise into 5 cm (2″) pieces, wash and drain.

When the lamb is tender, add the carrots and celery and make sure they are covered in water. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender and ready. Add the olives, preserved lemons and lemon juice and simmer for 2 minutes.

To serve, arrange the vegetables around the rim of your serving dish. Place the lamb at the centre and pour over the sauce. Decorate with the olives and preserved lemons.