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Moroccan Lamb and Quince Tagine

With thanks to Jill Dupleix

One of more unusual meat-and-fruit combinations that make Moroccan food so interesting, this richly spiced stew tempers the natural sourness of the quince with honey. Serve with steamed cous cous or rice, and honeyed carrots. If quinces aren’t in season, use sweet potato, or prunes, for that little extra sweetness.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 kg lamb shoulder or leg meat, cubed
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • half tsp cumin
  • half tsp coriander
  • half tsp cayenne
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • half tsp ground saffron
  • half tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp good honey, runny
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 quince, around 400g
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley or coriander
  • 1 preserved lemon, chopped
  • or 1 tbsp grated lemon rind

Method

In a large pot, combine the cubed lamb, onion, and 500 ml water, and bring to the boil, skimming as necessary. Add the olive oil, tomato puree, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon stick, saffron and ginger, stirring, then lower the heat and cook gently, partly covered, until the lamb is tender. (Around 1 hour for leg meat, another 30 minutes for shoulder). Combine the honey and 400 ml water in a small saucepan, and bring to the boil. Peel and core the quince then cut into eight segments. Add the quince to the honey syrup, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until soft, skimming if necessary. Add the quinces to the tagine. Add a little of the honey water to taste – and add more if you like a saucier, sweeter stew. Taste also for salt and spicing. To serve, toss the parsley or coriander with the preserved lemon, and scatter over the top.