Lamb tagine with caramelized quince


Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Serves: Serve 6 :

The tagine, at its base, is a terracotta kitchen utensil, topped with a cone-shaped lid. It allows food to be stewed, thus preserving its flavors and benefits.

 In Morocco the tagine is a family sharing style dish, which is eaten with homemade bread.

You can prepare all kinds of tagines: with meat (chicken, beef, lamb and goat in certain regions of Morocco).  With fish, most often marinated in a kind of sauce made from fresh herbs (coriander and parsley) and spices called “chermoula”. Or quite simply a vegetarian tagine, there are often seasonal vegetables.

Today I’m sharing with you a tagine that I particularly like, “lamb tajine with caramelized quince” – “طاجين بالسفرجل معسل” -. An autumn tagine, very tasty and full of flavours, with cinnamon, ginger and turmeric.

A seasonal tagine and one of the traditional sweet and savory dishes, which is usually made with lamb, which you can replace with veal.

I have already suggested the recipe for sweet tagine – savory with chicken and apricots with orange blossom, which you will find HERE.

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Lamb tagine with caramelized quince

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves: Serve 6 :

The meat can be marinated the night before to soak up the spices. The cooking time of this one will vary according to the pieces and the meat chosen: lamb, veal or beef.


Marinade :

  • 1 Kg lamb, leg steaks or collar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric , powder
  • 1 tsp ginger , powder
  • 1 tsp coriander, powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, powder
  • salt and black pepper

Sauce :

  • 2 onions, large size finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric , powder
  • 1 tsp ginger , powder
  • 1 tsp coriander , powder
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 1 cinnamon , stick
  • 1/2 tsp preserved butter, optional
  • salt and black pepper
  • water, boiled

Caramelized quinces:

  • 2 quinces, large size
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 Tbsp honey , Acacia
  • 1 tsp cinnamon , powder
  • 1 Tbsp sesame, toasted


Preparing the meat :

  • 1)

    In a container with a lid, combine all the ingredients for the marinade, massage the meat with this mixture.  Let stand 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.

  • 2)

    In a large casserole or a special cooking tagine, over low – medium heat.  Brown the meat in 2 Tbsp olive oil for 5 minutes, you need to turn the meat occasionally, before adding the onion and garlic.

    Add the spices, salt and pepper.  Sauté for 10 minutes, the onion should be translucent and the meat should soak up the spices and take on color,before adding the boiling water, just enough to cover the meat. 


    Cover with a lid and cook on a very low heat for 1 hour (or more depending on the pieces and meat chosen), until the meat is tender and the sauce is reduced.

Caramelized quince :

  • 1)

    Meanwhile the meat is cooking, prepare the quince.  Wash the quince, peel them or not, it’s up to your taste.
    Cut the quince into quarters, then each quarter in two. Make sure you cut pieces of equal sizes, otherwise they won’t cook evenly. Take off the seeds. Transfer them directly to a bowl filled with water and lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.

  • 2)

    Place the quince pieces in a large skillet of salted boiling water with two slices of lemon. As the quince pieces float, cover them with baking paper.
    Cook the quince pieces over medium heat for 10-15 minutes depending on the quality of the fruit (do not overcook them). Once they are soft enough to insert a knife, remove them from the heat and drain them. Set aside.

  • 3)

    In a large pan, put 4 tablespoons of water, melt the butter and honey.  Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat then arrange the pieces of quince, sprinkle with cinnamon and let caramelize, while turning the pieces of quince so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Assembly :

  • 1)

    In a tagine dish, arrange the sauce then the meat topped with pieces of caramelized quince decorated with grilled sesame. Serve immediately with good homemade bread or couscous.

Tricks and tips :

If halfway through cooking you notice there is almost no liquid and the meat is not cooked yet, add few  tablespoons of water to avoid the tagine from drying out and sticking to the pan.


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