Neil Perry's flavoursome duck, olive and date tagine.
Neil Perry's flavoursome duck, olive and date tagine. Photo: William Meppem

DUCK, OLIVE AND DATE TAGINE

6 duck legs

1 cup chermoula (see recipe below)

1 red onion, sliced into 6 wedges

2 carrots, cut into 4cm long pieces

1 medium yam, peeled and cut into 4cm-long pieces

30 green beans

12 whole almonds, skin removed

sea salt

extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp honey

juice of 1 lemon

8 fresh dates, pitted

1 small handful large green olives, pitted

rind of 1/4 preserved lemon, finely sliced

2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Serves 4

Put duck legs on a chopping board and cut in half so you have thighs and drumsticks.

Combine duck pieces with chermoula, onion, carrot, yam, beans, almonds and a little sea salt in a bowl. Leave to marinate for about for about 1 hour.

In a tagine or a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat a little extra virgin olive oil.

Add duck, vegetables and any marinade to pan and settle the pieces down reasonably flat. Half cover with water, add honey and lemon juice and cover with lid. Reduce heat to a very gentle simmer.

After about 30 minutes, remove lid and turn the ingredients over carefully. Add dates and olives, cover the pan again and cook for a further 30 minutes; by this stage everything should be tender.

Remove the tagine or pan from the heat, and serve tagine from tagine or pan you cooked it in, spoon onto a large platter or divide among plates with 3 duck pieces per person. Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped lemon rind and fresh herbs.

 

ALT

TAGINE OF KING PRAWN, CHICKPEAS, ALMONDS AND CHERRY TOMATOES

1 cup chermoula (see recipe below)

juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp quality honey

8 eschallots, peeled

1 tsp sea salt

1kg green king prawns, peeled and deveined

10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 tin chickpeas, rinsed

1/4 cup blanched almonds

rind of 1 preserved lemon, finely sliced

Serves 4

Put a tagine or large saucepan on the stove. Add a litre of water, chermoula, lemon juice, honey, eschallots and sea salt. Bring to boil, reduce to gentle simmer and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes, covered.

Remove lid and add prawns, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, almonds and preserved lemon rind and stir through. Gently simmer for a minute or two, until prawns are cooked.

Remove tagine from heat. Divide among 4 bowls or serve from tagine or pan in the middle of the table.

 

CHERMOULA

1 red onion, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

90g coriander (including stalks), washed and roughly chopped

150g flat-leaf parsley (including stalks), washed and roughly chopped

1 heaped tsp sea salt

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

11/2 tbsp ground chilli

1 tbsp ground turmeric

2 tsp sweet paprika

11/2 tbsp ras el hanout

185ml extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

Put ingredients in a food processor, except oil and lemon juice. Process for one minute, and then slowly pour in oil until a thick paste forms. If making ahead of time, refrigerate chermoula until ready to use.

 

HOT TIPS

• These tagines (named after the earthenware pot in which they are traditionally cooked)are just a guide for you to start playing with Moroccan flavours. They're perfect served with steamed couscous.

• Chermoula is a bit of an all-purpose paste and you can add or leave out spices as you wish.

• Add any sweet or sour combo you like, and any seafood or meat to either.

• I love sweet vegies such as pumpkin, yam, long cooked carrots and parsnips in tagines, and I often also add brussels sprouts and half heads of radicchio.

 

SOMETHING TO DRINK

Arneis
Arneis, a variety of grape from north-west Italy, matches the prawns nicely. The delicate herbal element of arneis enhances the herbs in the chermoula. The YarraLoch 2011 Arneis ($24) is racy and citric, and drinking it will be like a squeeze of fresh lemon over the tagine.

 

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Kirsten Jenkins.