Lamb Tagine with Quince and Okra

The combination of meat and fruit is common in Middle Eastern cuisine. If you aren't familiar with quinces, you might mistake them for hard, yellow apples. They are too tart to eat raw, but become fragrantly delicious when cooked. The quinces in this tagine are not combined with sugar and therefore will not change color.

Serves: 6 – 8


2 lbs. lean boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 6 pieces
3 medium red onions, peeled; 1 grated, 2 finely chopped
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch saffron threads
1 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄2 tsp. hot paprika
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
18 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1⁄4 cup tomato purée
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
3 large fresh quinces
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1⁄4 lbs. fresh small okra, tops pared


1. Stir lamb, grated onion, olive oil, saffron, ginger, paprika, cilantro, parsley, garlic, and 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt in large pot over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add tomato purée and 1 cup water; raise heat, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, turning meat occasionally. Add chopped onions, jalapeño, and cumin, and simmer 45 minutes more.

2. Meanwhile, cut each quince into 6 pieces, leaving skin on, and cut away core. Poach in 4 cups simmering, salted water in a skillet over medium heat until just tender, about 10 minutes. Pour off all but 2–3 tbsp. poaching liquid; add butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook quinces flesh-side-down until glazed brown, about 20 minutes. Turn, and glaze 5 minutes more.

3. Add okra to lamb, cover, and cook until okra is tender and sauce is thick, 15–20 minutes. Garnish with quinces.

You may also want to read about quince.