Fragrant Lamb with prunes & almonds

Try this Tagine inspired lamb dish with prunes and almond for a comforting weekend dinner. It can even be made the day before and rewarmed for the next day.

Serves 6

Fragrant lamb with prunes & almonds

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  • 2.5kg lamb shanks, or 1.8kg of boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, thickly sliced
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • A thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and slivered
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1-2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 150g golden raisins
  • 300g pitted prunes
  • 750ml chicken broth or water
  • 300g chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • For the garnish
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 200g blanched whole almonds
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Small pinch of sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper, then set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onions, sprinkle with a little salt and crumble the saffron on top. Sweat the onions gently for about 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick, coriander and cumin seeds, powdered ginger and cayenne pepper. Add the raisins and half the prunes.
  3. Put the lamb in a deep casserole and spread the onion mixture over the meat. Add the broth or water and tomatoes, and cover the pot with foil and a tight-fitting lid. Bake for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  4. Take the dish from the oven and remove the foil and lid. Add the rest of the prunes and submerge them in the liquid. Raise the heat to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and return the lamb to the oven, uncovered, for about 15 minutes to let the meat brown a bit. Remove the pot from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes or so.
  5. Skim off any fat from the surface of the tagine. Reduce the sauce if it seems thin. The tagine is ready to serve but will reheat perfectly, so you can make it today to serve the next day: the sauce will mature beautifully in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. Just before you serve the tagine, heat the butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the almonds, stirring occasionally. When they turn golden, dry them on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and sugar.
  7. To serve, transfer the stew to a large platter and scatter the almonds on top

Adapted from a recipe by the Guardian