Lamb tagine with prunes and toasted almonds

Lamb tagine with prunes and toasted almonds

Man Food
Billy Law

This dish brings back lots of good memories of my trip to Jordan. I am all in for anything slow cooked. These lamb shanks are slow cooked until they fall off the bone – tender, sweetened with prunes and with toasted almonds that add the crunch. You just need a big bowl of couscous to soak up all the delightful sauce.


Quantity Ingredient
8 lamb shanks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons ras el hanout, (recipe below)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 litre vegetable stock or water
pinch saffron threads, soaked in 125 ml warm water for 10 minutes
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
220g whole pitted prunes
handful almond slivers, toasted
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Ras el hanout spice mix

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


Quantity Ingredient
1 large onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon ras el hanout, plus extra to taste
pinch sea salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper


Quantity Ingredient
250ml vegetable stock
270g instant couscous
handful parsley, chopped


  1. First, make the ras el hanout spice mix by mixing all of the spices together in a small bowl. This recipe will make extra which can be used for other dishes. Keep the extra spice mix in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
  2. To make the marinade, mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the lamb shanks in a large bowl and rub with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 30 minutes but no more than 2 hours.
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based casserole dish over a medium–high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the marinated lamb, ras el hanout and turmeric and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and cook until the lamb is slightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the stock, saffron water, cinnamon sticks and cloves and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 45–60 minutes or until the lamb is almost fall-off-the-bone tender. Remove the lid, add the prunes and simmer for a further 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the couscous, bring the stock and 250 ml water to the boil in a saucepan. Place the couscous in a large bowl, pour over the hot stock and quickly cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let it steam and cook until all the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Before serving, fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the parsley. Serve the lamb shanks sprinkled with the almonds and sesame seeds. Serve with the couscous.
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