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


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


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


  • 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.