Beef or lamb with prunes is a classic sweet and savory Moroccan dish that combines dried prunes and meat with the fragrant spices of ginger, saffron, cinnamon, and pepper. It’s popular as a traditional offering at holiday gatherings, weddings, and other special occasions.
2 pounds tender lamb, or beef, cut into 3-inch pieces
2 medium onions, grated or very finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 to 2 (3- to 4-inch) pieces cinnamon stick
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups water
Handful cilantro sprigs, tied together
1/2 pound prunes
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, optional
Handful almonds, fried, optional
Steps to Make It
Cook the Meat
Gather the ingredients.
In a bowl, mix the meat with the onions, garlic, and spices.
Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat and brown the meat for a few minutes until a crust forms.
Place the meat mixture in the pressure cooker and add 2 1/2 cups of water and the cilantro. Over high heat, bring the meat and liquids to a simmer.
Cover tightly and continue heating until pressure is achieved. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook with pressure for 45 to 50 minutes.
About halfway through cooking, remove 1/2 cup of the liquid and reserve.
After the meat has cooked, release the pressure and reduce the sauce, uncovered, until it is mostly oil and onion.
Cook the Prunes
While the meat is cooking, put the prunes in a small pot and cover with water. Simmer over medium heat, partially covered, until the prunes are tender enough to easily pinch off the pit or pinch in half. (The amount of time this takes can vary greatly depending on the prunes, but the average is 15 to 30 minutes.)
Drain the prunes, then add the 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid from the meat.
Stir in the honey, sugar, and ground cinnamon, and simmer the prunes for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are sitting in a thick syrup.
Arrange the meat on a large serving platter and spoon the prunes and syrup on top.
If desired, garnish with sesame seeds and/or fried almonds. Moroccan tradition is to gather around the table and eat from this communal plate, using Moroccan bread to scoop up the meat and sauce.
Pressure Cooker Moroccan Lamb or Beef Tagine With Prunes on a plate with garnish