When I feel like having some comfort food, I often make stews. Just the aroma of a stew cooking on the stove (or in the oven) has a somewhat relaxing and almost therapeutic effect. When I make a stew on a rainy day, even the bad weather seems more bearable and from annoying, it becomes captivating and I start to appreciate the more subtle light and cool breeze! You get the point, right? Stews put me in a good mood! And tajines are among my all time favourite stews. I love Moroccan cuisine and spices and I also love the combination of meat and fruits. I know it may seem weird at first, but believe me… the taste is fantastic! When I saw this recipe for a lamb tajine with quinces, I simply could not resist it, as I am a huge fan of quinces and I knew my family and I would enjoy it tremendously. And we did. It is a bit time consuming to make, so I suggest you make it on a weekend, but believe me… it is well worth the time and effort! Enjoy!
Lamb Tajine with Quinces
How to make a delicious Moroccan main dish: Lamb Tajine with Quinces!
- 750 gms – 1.5 lbs. quinces
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 to 4 tbsp cooking liquid from the quinces
- 3 to 4 tbsp of broth from the meat
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 kg – 2 lbs. lamb cut into 5 to 6 cm – 2" or 3" pieces
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic
- 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 ½ tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp black pepper ground
- ½ tsp saffron threads melted in 1 tbsp warm water
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp Ras El Hanout
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 small bunch of coriander
- 3 cups water
In an oven proof casserole, sauté the lamb in the extra virgin olive oil until golden brown. Remove it and keep it aside.
In the same casserole, melt the butter and sauté the onions, until golden brown. Add all the spices except for the saffron and coriander and stir well. Add the browned lamb, the saffron, coriander and water. Bring it to a simmering point on the stove.
Cover the casserole/dish (if your dish doesn’t have a lid, use aluminium foil and stretch it to the edges of the dish in order to minimize evaporation and the loss of juices) and place it on the lowest rack of the oven. Adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly, it has to go on for 3-4 hours. I cooked it at 150ºC – 300ºF for 3 and a half hours.
Reserve 3 to 4 tablespoons of the sauce, and cook on the stove on high heat to reduce the remaining liquids until the sauce is thick.
While the meat is cooking in the oven, prepare the quinces. Peel them, cut them into quarters or eighths, then core them. Put them into a bowl of water with a tablespoon of lemon juice as you work to prevent oxidation.
When ready, drain the quinces and transfer them to a skillet or pot. Cover with fresh water, add a teaspoon of sugar, and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the quinces are tender but still firm enough to hold their shape.
Drain the quinces, reserving a few tablespoons of the poaching liquid. Add the reserved broth from the meat, butter, cinnamon, sugar, honey, salt and some of the poaching liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook until a thick syrup forms. Occasionally stir or turn the quinces to coat them with the syrup on all sides.
Place the meat and sauce on a serving platter. Arrange the quinces on the top or all around, spooning the syrup over the meat and fruit. Serve warm with couscous.