Smoky aubergine tagine with lemon & apricots

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Ingredients

2 aubergines, cut into large chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1½ tsp ras el hanout
1½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
good pinch of saffron
300ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
2 preserved lemons, rind of both sliced, pulp from the centre of 1 roughly chopped
120g dried apricots, halved
200g tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tbsp clear honey
zest 1 lemon, juice ½
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
Greek yogurt, to serve (optional)
wholemeal bulghar wheat, to serve (optional)

Method:

Brown the aubergines in 2 tbsp of the oil so they’re golden on all sides, but not soft in the middle yet – this is best done in batches in a large, non-stick frying pan.
Heat a heavy-based shallow lidded pan or flameproof tagine with the remaining oil, then add the onions, ginger and spices, and fry gently until softened and golden.
Meanwhile, add the saffron to the stock to soak. Stir the preserved lemon rind and pulp,apricots, tomatoes, honey and lemon juice into the onions with the saffron stock. Snugly fit the aubergines in, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 mins until the aubergines are tender. Season to taste.
Mix together the lemon zest, sesame seeds and chopped herbs, and sprinkle over the tagine. Serve with Greek yogurt and wholemealbulghar wheat, if you like. Serving is your choice.