Eat the Seasons… October

Lamb & Quince Tagine with Chermoula & Buttered Couscous

Serves 6-8
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 1 ½ hours


  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1kg Lean Lamb Shoulder or Leg, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Onions, thinly sliced
  • 5cm Fresh Ginger, finely grated
  • 200g Skinned Chopped Tomatoes, fresh or from a can
  • Small Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 tbsp Ground Ginger
  • 4 tbsp Clear Honey
  • 1 Small Preserved Lemon Flesh Discarded (from the international section in large supermarkets) or 2 Strips Lemon Zest, finely chopped
  • 750ml Lamb or Chicken Stock
  • ¾ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • 400g Can Chickpeas, drained
  • Pared Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • 1kg Quince (about 4 medium)
  • 40g Butter, plan an extra knob
  • 2 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 50g Blanched Almonds, toasted in a dry frying pan, then split in half

For the Chermoula:

  • 3 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 ½ tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Harissa Paste
  • Good Pinch Saffron Strands
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 20g Fresh Coriander Leaves
  • 20g Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp Salt

For the Buttered Couscous:

  • 360g Couscous
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 450ml Boiling Water
  • 25g Butter
  • Finely Grated Zest of 1 Small Lemon


  1. To make the chermoula, blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste in a food processor.
  2. Heat 1½ tablespoons of the oil in a large flameproof casserole.  Fry the lamb in 2 batches until browned all over, then lift onto a plate.  Add the rest of the oil and onions to the pan and fry over a medium heat until soft and browned.  Add the grated ginger, cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, cinnamon, ground ginger, 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons chermoula.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then return the lamb to the casserole and add the preserved lemon/lemon zest, stock, ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper.  Part-cover, then simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Stir in the chickpeas and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes more until the lamb is tender and the sauce has reduced a little more.
  4. Meanwhile put 1 litre cold water and the lemon zest and juice in a saucepan.  Peel, quarter and core the quinces, putting them in the pan as you go to stop them browning.  Bring to a simmer over a medium heat and cook for 10-15 minutes until just tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.  Drain well and transfer to a deep frying pan or sauté pan.  Add the butter, the remaining 2 tablespoons honey, the sugar, cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of the lamb cooking liquid and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, then cook gently, turning now and then, until the juices are sticky and reduced and the quinces are tender.
  5. Shortly before the lamb is ready, put the couscous and salt in a large heatproof bowl, then stir in the hot water.  Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 5 minutes.  Uncover, then fluff up with a fork.  Melt the 400g butter in a large pan, add the couscous and stir over a low heat for 2 minutes until heated through, then fork through the lemon zest.  Melt the knob of butter in a pan and fry the almonds in it for 1 minute.
  6. Stir the remaining chermoula into the lamb and adjust the seasoning to taste.  Arrange the quince over the top, scatter with the almonds, and then serve with the buttered couscous.


You can email Suzanne with any comments or questions at