2000s Recipes + Menus

Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Cinnamon

  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:2 hr
May 2008
This well-balanced stew is intense yet mellow. The prunes soak up the fragrant spices, and long, slow cooking turns the lamb fork-tender. View more of our favorite recipes from this issue.
  • 2 1/2 lb boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon white wine or water
  • About 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 lb prunes (about 2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons mild honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
  • Toss together lamb, onion, 3 tablespoons oil, spices (except saffron), 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot.
  • Lightly toast saffron in a dry small skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat until just fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Crumble into wine and let stand 1 minute. Add wine to pot, then add enough water to just cover lamb. Gently simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours.
  • Stir in prunes and honey and simmer until meat is tender and sauce has thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt.
  • Toast sesame seeds in dry small skillet over medium heat, stirring, until pale golden, then transfer to a small bowl.
  • Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in same skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then fry almonds until golden. Drain on paper towels.
  • Serve tagine sprinkled with sesame seeds and almonds.
Cooks’ note: Tagine can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled (covered once cool). Reheat gently, thinning with water if needed.
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