lamb ragout

Quince and Lamb Ragout or Marqat al-Sfarjel


The name of this recipe directly translates from Arabic into “broth of quince”. While many translations will tell you that marqa means broth or sauce, in practice it means a slow-cooked stew that has very little fat or liquid. Most Americans don’t know the word marqa, but they will recognize words that mean almost the same thing, such as tajin and ragout.

Stews like Marqat al-Sfarjel have a long history in northern Africa. Almost every region and culture in northern Africa has their own variations of stews based on local ingredients, cookware and spices. This recipe uses quince, an apple-like fruit that is commonly found in northern Africa and southern Europe.  While there is a sweet variety in North Africa, the quince available in the U.S. are inedible in their raw state. Also, cooks shouldn’t cut them up until needed because they discolor quickly. Quinces are available throughout the United States, but are at their best in the winter months, especially in November and December. Because quinces are a specialty item, your best chance to find them is at a speciality store. Of course, like most foods, they are also available year-round online.


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You can personalize this recipe by choosing one of our speciality infused Tunisian olive oils, which can be found here. We’d love to see your finished Marqat al-Sfarjel plates! Send us your photos when you give this recipe a try via our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.


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  • 1/2 cup Mediterranean Drizzles garlic infused extra virgin olive oil

  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of all fat and cubed

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1-1/2 pounds quince cored, peeled and cut into eighths

  • 3 to 4 cups water

  • 1-1/3 cups sugar

  • Salt to taste


  1. In a bowl, toss raw lamb together with the cinnamon, rose petals or rose water, and salt.

  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized casserole pan on stove

  3. Add lamb mixture, browning the lamb, about two minutes

  4. Add quince, cover with water and bring to a boil

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, allowing the lamb and quince to cook uncovered for 1 hour

  6. Add sugar and stir

  7. Cover and cook until the lamb is very tender and the quince soft, about another hour.

  8. Remove to a serving platter with a slotted spoon and serve over rice.

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