Quince recipe: tagine

Lamb and quince tagine recipe

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Discover this simple way of cooking quince for a hearty treat from Mark Diancono's A Taste of the Unexpected . Words by Lia Leendertz, photos by Jason Ingram, styling by Niki Goss


From Mark Diacono’s A Taste of the Unexpected (Quadrille, 2010), this recipe uses quince as the fruit element in a tagine, a role that might otherwise be taken by dried apricots or prunes.

Discover more about quince, how to grow quince and the history of quince

How to make lamb and quince tagine



  • Lamb or mutton shanks 4
  • Medium onions 2, halved and finely sliced
  • Fresh ginger 20g, peeled and finely grated
  • Tomato purée 1 ½ tbsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves 4, peeled and finely sliced
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Clear honey 6 tbsp
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Quinces 2
  • Fresh coriander 15g, tough stalks removed and roughly chopped


  • Ground cumin 2½ tsp
  • Paprika 1½ tsp
  • Ground cardamom ¼ tsp, (or two cardamom pods, lightly crushed)
  • Freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp
  • Ground coriander 1 tsp
  • Threads saffron 12
  • Cinnamon stick 1


  • Step 1

    Put the shanks in a large pot with the onions and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and skim off any scum. Add the spices, tomato purée, olive oil and salt and simmer for about 2½ hours, until the meat is tender.

  • Step 2

    Meanwhile bring 700ml water to the boil and stir in 4 tbsp honey and the lemon juice. Peel and quarter the quinces and drop them in.

  • Step 3

    Poach quinces for 30 minutes at a simmer, drain, cool slightly, core and half each quarter vertically. Stir the remaining honey into the tagine and simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the quince and half the coriander.

  • Step 4

    Serve with couscous or rice, scattering the remaining coriander over the top.