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Fragrant mutton tagine

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Fragrant mutton tagine

Main Serves 5 2h 30 min
This mutton tagine recipe has a long ingredients list, but you'll probably have many of them in your cupboard. Mutton is a full-flavoured, inexpensive meat much revered in North Africa. You could make the same tagine with lamb and probably knock a few minutes off the cooking time. Serve this over a heap of steaming couscous.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp saffron strands
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 800g diced mutton or lamb
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 300ml lamb or chicken stock
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 75g dried apricots
  • 75g dried prunes
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 375g couscous
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • handful coriander or mint, chopped
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 30 min
Cooking time: 2h
  • Step 1

    Heat the oil in a casserole and cook the chopped onions, saffron threads and garlic over a gentle heat for 5 minutes.
  • Step 2

    Turn the heat up and add the diced mutton - brown it all over - then add ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, turmeric, and very thinly sliced chilli together with some salt, fry a further couple of minutes before pouring in the stock. Bring to simmering point then cover and cook gently for 1½ hours.
  • Step 3

    By now the mutton is already tender and the aromas of the stew are mouth-wateringly good. Remove the lid and fold in the diced sweet potato, dried apricots, prunes and ground almonds (this will thicken the sauce), cover and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  • Step 4

    Fold in the chickpeas, simmer for a further 5 minutes then add lemon juice and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Step 5

    Ten minutes before the end of cooking time, dry roast the flaked almonds in a frying pan for a couple of minutes until golden.
  • Step 6

    Heat 750ml of water to boiling, pour in 375g instant couscous and cook gently for 1 minute, cover and leave to stand for a further 4 minutes then add olive oil, chopped coriander - or mint - plus some seasoning to taste.
  • Step 7

    Serve fragrant mutton tagine over couscous in warmed bowls and scatter with flaked almonds.

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