Goat Shanks & Quince Tagine

Tagine is perhaps the best-known North African dish and deserves its notoriety. The combination of spice, fruit and meat is greater than the sum of its parts.

Serves: 4

Recipe time:


For the meat

  • 4 goat shanks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 skinned tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50g butter, melted
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds – toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds – toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 large bunch fresh coriander, leaves chopped, stalks reserved.
  • 350ml stock or water – warmed
  • 10 saffron threads soaked in the stock for at least 20 minutes

For the quince

  • 2 quinces – peeled and quartered
  • 6 tbsp raisins
  • 50g honey
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp butter


  1. In a large bowl mix together the meat, salt, tomatoes, onions, melted butter and spices.  Cover and leave refrigerated for a couple of hours or over night.
  2. To cook, put the marinated meat in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mix over a moderate heat uncovered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Then stir in the water or stock, along with the saffron and ½ the coriander stalks, then cover and simmer gently over a low heat for about 2 ½ – 3 hours or until the shanks meat is meltingly tender. Top up a bit with water if the sauce looks too dry.
  4. While the shanks are cooking, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil with the honey and raisins and poach the quince until just tender, then drain.
  5. When cooked remove the shanks from the sauce keep warm. Remove excess fat from the sauce and add some of the quince liqueur to taste.  Season with salt to taste, and then return the meat to the sauce.
  6. Heat 1 tbsp butter over a moderate heat in a frying pan.  Add quince, sugar and cinnamon.  Fry on both sides until golden and glazed all over.  Then add the raisins and toss gently together and pour over the meat.
  7. Serve in a warm serving dish scattered with the rest of the coriander. Serve with couscous.

James Whetlor

Owner at Cabrito.