1 large onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
4 tablespoons light vegetable oil
2lbs boned, cubed lamb (fillet of neck or shoulder, trimmed of excess but not all fat)
salt & pepper
½ teaspoon saffron
½ - 1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1lb pitted prunes
2 teaspoons ground cassia cinnamon
1 – 3 tablespoons honey (optional)
1 tablespoon raw white sesame
½ cup blanched almonds
tagine or 5 – 6 quart dutch oven with lid
yield: 6 servings
prep time: 25 minutes
cooking time: 2 hours
Fry the onions and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the meat and turn to brown lightly all over. Add salt, pepper, saffron, ginger and nutmeg. Cover with water, stir well and simmer covered for 1½ hours until the meat is very tender. Add a little more water if needed.
Add the prunes, cinnamon and honey (if using – the prunes can be sweet enough) and plenty of black pepper to mitigate the sweetness. Simmer uncovered for a further 15 – 20 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced.
Lightly toast the sesame seeds and, separately, the almonds in a dry pan.
Serve the lamb hot with plain cous cous and sprinkle with the sesame and almonds.
(adapted from Claudia Roden)