Moroccan Lamb Tagine: Slow-Cooked North African Delight

Embark on a culinary journey to the vibrant landscapes of North Africa with the exquisite flavors of Moroccan lamb tagine. This traditional dish, cooked in a distinctive conical pot known as a tagine, captures the essence of Moroccan cuisine, blending aromatic spices, tender lamb, and a symphony of ingredients to create a sensory masterpiece.


For the Marinade:

  • 1.5 kg (approximately 3.3 lbs) lamb shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Tagine:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 preserved lemon, pulp removed, rind thinly sliced
  • 200g (about 1 cup) dried apricots, halved
  • 200g (about 1 cup) green olives, pitted
  • 400ml (about 1.5 cups) chicken or vegetable broth
  • Fresh coriander or parsley for garnish
  • Toasted almonds for garnish


1. Marinating the Lamb:

  1. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, chopped onion, minced garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, paprika, salt, and pepper to create the marinade.
  2. Add the lamb chunks to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well-coated.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight for the flavors to infuse.

2. Cooking the Tagine:

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F).
  2. In the base of the tagine or a heavy-bottomed ovenproof pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add thinly sliced onions and sauté until golden brown.
  4. Place the marinated lamb chunks into the tagine, arranging them evenly.
  5. Scatter preserved lemon slices, dried apricots, and green olives over the lamb.
  6. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, ensuring it covers the lamb and other ingredients.
  7. Place the tagine in the preheated oven, and slow-cook for 2.5 to 3 hours until the lamb is tender and falls off the bone.

3. Serving and Garnishing:

  1. Remove the tagine from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
  2. Garnish the Moroccan Lamb Tagine with fresh coriander or parsley for a burst of freshness.
  3. Sprinkle toasted almonds over the dish for added crunch and nuttiness.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve the Moroccan Lamb Tagine over a bed of couscous or with warm, crusty bread to soak up the flavorful juices.
  • Accompany the dish with a side of yogurt or a drizzle of harissa for those who enjoy a hint of spice.

Tips for Perfect Tagine

  • Patience is Key: The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld and intensify. Resist the urge to rush, and let the tagine work its magic.
  • Experiment with Spices: Feel free to adjust the spice levels to suit your preferences. Moroccan cuisine embraces bold, aromatic spices, so don’t shy away from customization.

A Culinary Odyssey in Every Bite

Moroccan Lamb Tagine is more than just a dish; it’s a journey through the aromatic markets and kitchens of Morocco. With each tender bite, savor the rich tapestry of flavors that define North African cuisine—a culinary odyssey that leaves a lasting imprint on your palate and transports you to the bustling streets of Marrakech.

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