Lamb with prunes tagine is a classic Moroccan dish that combines sweet prunes and savory tender meat with the fragrant intense spices of ginger, saffron, cinnamon and pepper. It's often served at parties, weddings and other special occasions with khobz (Moroccan bread) for soaking up the tasty juices.
Moroccan Jews serve this dish to celebrate the New Year as the sweetness of the dish symbolizes their hope for sweetness in the forthcoming year.
TIP - It can be made the day before an event and re-heated just before the party.
This recipe explains how to cook the dish using the traditional ceramic tagine pot as this provides better results, but you can use a pressure cooker or a casserole.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Serves 4 to 6
• 2 lb. (about 1 kg) tender lamb, cut into three inch pieces
• 2 medium onions, grated or very finely chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon pepper
• 1 teaspoon ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
• 1 or 2 sticks of cinnamon
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup butter or vegetable oil
• handful of coriander sprigs, tied together into a bouquet
• 1/2 lb. (about 1/4 kg) prunes (Stone-in prunes tend to hold together better.)
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon toasted golden sesame seeds (optional)
• handful of fried blanched almonds (optional)
Slice one of the onions and layer the onion rings on the bottom of the tagine. Finely chop the other onion and mix with the meat, garlic, oils and spices, and place on the onion rings. Add 2 1/2 cups of water, cover, and place the tagine on the hob over a medium heat. Allow the tagine to reach a gentle bubbling boil (this may take a while), and then reduce the heat and simmer. Allow the tagine to cook for 2.5 hours, then add the prunes and honey, sugar and cinnamon and simmer for a further 20 minutes, or until the meat is very tender and the liquids are reduced. The meat should be falling off the bone. Remove and discard the coriander sprigs.
Serve in the tagine pot. Garnish with fried almonds and/or sesame seeds for extra flavour and wow factor to impress your guests.
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