Lamb with prunes and honey

Lamb with prunes and honey

Khoresht-e aloo

Mark Roper

Versions of this dish also pop up as a favourite Moroccan tagine, brought to North Africa from Persia courtesy of the Arabs, of course. It’s a lovely sweet-and-mildly-sour combination of lamb and fruit, which cooks down to form a luscious, thick sauce. We use forequarter lamb chops – it’s a great dish for this rather fatty cut – but you could, of course, use shoulder or leg meat, cut into large chunks, if you prefer.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
1.2kg lamb forequarter chops, cut into medium pieces
2 onions, cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 litre good-quality chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
1 long strip orange peel, all pith removed
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons honey
300g pitted prunes
Saffron chelow rice
and thick natural yoghurt, to serve
2 tablespoons Saffron liquid


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Brown the lamb in batches over a medium heat, then transfer to a large, heavy-based saucepan or casserole.
  2. Pulse the onion and garlic to a coarse paste in a food processor. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan and tip in the onion mixture. Fry over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
  3. Stir in the spices, salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add to the casserole. Pour in the chicken stock, stir well, then add the cinnamon stick, orange peel, bay leaves, saffron liquid and honey. Stir again and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1¼ hours, topping up with a little water if the mixture becomes too dry.
  4. Add the prunes and cook for a further 30–45 minutes, squishing them into the sauce as they soften. At the end of the cooking time, the sauce should be thick and rich and the meat falling away from the bones. When ready to serve, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve with plain or saffron chelow rice and plenty of creamy yoghurt.
Middle Eastern
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