Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Apples

You can try different combinations of the tagine – you can leave out the sliced onions and the apples and sprinkle with browned almonds just before serving.

Serves 6 people

1.3 kg (2 ½ lbs) lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 3cm (1 ½”) chunks
450 g (1 lb) fresh stoned prunes
4 medium tart apples
1 medium onion, grated
½ medium onion, grated
4 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 scant teaspoon
pinch of pulverised saffron
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 5-quart deep casserole. Mix in the oil, saffron, salt, pepper, ginger, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, onion and the lamb chunks. Sauté gently until the pieces of lamb are browned. Add water to cover the mixture. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour, turning the meat often and adding water whenever necessary.

While the lamb is cooking, soak the prunes in cold water. When the lamb is tender, add the finely sliced onion and cook for a further 30 minutes. Drain the prunes and add them to the meat. Stir in 3 tablespoons honey, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and simmer uncovered until the sauce has reduced and the apricots are tender and ready.

Meanwhile, drain the apples and quarter. In a frying pan, melt the remaining butter and sauté the apples, flesh side down, with the remaining 1tablespoon honey and remaining ¼ teaspoon cinnamon until soft and glazed.

To serve, arrange the meat on the serving dish, pour the sauce over and decorate with the apples. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.