Tagine of Lamb with Dates and Almonds

Saffron, ginger and two types of cinnamon make a rich, aromatic sauce to cloak Ed Baines' slow-cooked North African stew
By Ed Baines
Tagine of Lamb with Dates and Almonds
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1.5 kg boned lamb shoulder, or neck fillet
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp strands saffron
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 300 g dates, pitted
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 100 g blanched almonds


1. Trim any excess fat from the lamb and cut into 6-8 pieces. Heat 3 tablespoons of the sunflower oil in a casserole, put in the meat and brown it all over. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and set aside.

2. Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring, until they begin to colour.

3. Stir in the saffron and ginger and return the meat to the pan. Add some salt and pepper and the cinnamon stick.

4. Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender, turning the pieces occasionally.

5. Remove two pieces of the meat in order to make more room in the pan. Stir in the ground cinnamon and some more pepper. Move the meat around so the cinnamon is spread evenly, then return the two pieces of meat you took out. Continue cooking until the sauce is reduced, turning the meat over regularly.

6. Add the dates to the casserole and cook for 5-10 minutes more.

7. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, lightly toast the sesame seeds, then remove them to a small heatproof bowl. In the same pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and fry the almonds until lightly golden. Remove from the pan. Leave the almonds whole or chop them coarsely.

8. When the meat is ready to serve, sprinkle with the nuts and sesame seeds.

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