Lamb Tagine with Courgettes

Serves 6 people

1.3 kg (2 ½ lbs) lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 3cm (1 ½”) chunks
1.1 kg (2 ½ lbs) small courgettes
2 medium onions, grated
2 gloves garlic, peeled and crashed
2 teaspoons za’atar or a similar combination of marjoram, oregano and thyme
½ teaspoon turmeric
pinch of pulverised saffron
4 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Gently brown the lamb chunks on all sides in the vegetable oil in a large 5-quart deep casserole. Stir in the grated onions, garlic, spices and parsley, tossing the mixture to coat each meat piece. Add enough water to cover the meat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 ½ hours – until the lamb is tender. Turn the meat often and add water whenever necessary.

While the lamb is cooking, prepare the courgettes. Cut into 1’’ slices lengthwise and then rinse and drain. Sprinkle with the za’atar and salt lightly. Set aside.

When the lamb is fully cooked, remove it from the casserole and place in an oven-proof dish. Cover with foil to keep warm. Add the courgette pieces to the casserole and partially cook for 10 minutes. Remove the courgette slices and place on top of the meat in the oven-proof dish and then pour on the sauce from the casserole.

Place the oven-proof dish in a 180 C oven and bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Serve at once with an extra sprinkling of parsley.