22 September 2016

Tajine d'agneau aux pruneaux et aux pois chiches

This is a recipe I've probably made before, because I like lamb and I like prunes. They go well together, especially with the right spices — cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice coriander seed, fenugreek, cumin, carraway seed, curry, and cayenne pepper. You can make the same kind of dish with chicken.

A mixture of all those spices I listed above is what is called Ras el Hanout in Morocco. The word tajine [tah-ZHEEN] itself is the name of a cooking utensil and also the food that's cooked in it. You don't need the utensil, just a metal pot or a baking dish that's big enough. The tajine is a kind of stew with meat, fruit, vegetables, and spices in it. This is an example. (It would be really good made with lamb shanks.)

Tajine of lamb with prunes and chickpeas

2 lbs. lean lamb stew meat
2 onions
3 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. Ras el Hanout spice mix
1 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
2 dozen prunes
2 cups white wine
1 cup cooked chickpeas (from a can)
olive oil
salt and pepper
Cut the lamb into cubes (or buy it already cut up). Finely dice the onions and the garlic. Soak the prunes in the white wine to plump them.

Sauté the diced onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the Moroccan spice mixture (make your own using the spices listed above if you can't buy it ready-made) and let it cook for a minute or two.

Put the lamb stew meat into the pan and sauté everything on moderately high heat until the meat starts to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add a cup or so of water, cover the pan, and let the stew simmer either on top of the stove or in the oven for at least two hours. Keep adding just enough water as needed to prevent it from drying out.

When the meat is fairly tender, add the soaked prunes and the wine they soaked in and cook for another 30 minutes. Then add the chickpeas and let everything come back to temperature before serving the tajine with couscous grain or rice.


  1. This recipe looks super. My mouth is watering and I will try it when we go home to England. Thanks Ken.

    1. I used a frozen leg of lamb from New Zealand, which I de-boned and then cut into chunks. I was also making Greek moussaka so part of the leg meat went into that (minced). The shank went in with the rest of the leg meat for the tajine.

  2. Since you have been posting this Food Porn every day, I think I have gained weight. And that is just from reading and looking at the photos !! AND I don't even eat meat ! :0)

    1. I have been, haven't I... That's what life is like here right now. We still have a ton of tomatoes to eat or process, and tons of kale.

  3. This sounds like an especially good recipe.

    1. It is really good. One recipe calls for adding toasted almonds at the end of the cooking time instead of chickpeas. That would be good.

  4. I remember in NY , I would get fixed on recipes and food magazines and it was very pleasant .. just like reading this and looking at the photos. I immediately start to figure how I can make the recipe without using red meat :)
    Toasted almonds sounds great .. a little crunch and a light flavor.
    If it weren't warm and sunny here every day ... every. single.day ... I would be cooking more. But at least I am getting good recipes here for when it is actually not hot and sunny :)

  5. I made something not long ago, having been to a Farm Stand ( whilst lost and wandering around the back roads ) and bought a bunch of fresh tomatoes. I have been using them in everything possible ! l:)
    I have fallen back on the old tried and true ... .
    tomates et le sel sur le pain blanc grillé


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