This slowly cooked Moroccan influenced lamb tagine gets a sweet edge from dates and honey and texture from deliciously nutty almonds.
This recipe takes around 2 hours to cook but it is very easy and can be cooked in either a small tagine or similarly sized frying pan or skillet.
Morrocan Lamb Stew
Let’s face it a tagine is a stew, a stew named after the pot it is cooked in.
All cooking tends to be a “riff” on common flavour combinations, and this lamb tagine is no different.
It is warmly spiced without being spicy hot, it features classic flavours like cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and coriander.
I also add a sprinkling of dried mint, because I just can’t help myself, lamb and mint is a match made in heaven!
This is sweet and sour, rich and thick and packed with big flavours that perfectly complement the lamb and it is utterly delicious!
So often tagine now just refers to a North African or Middle Eastern influenced stew. I cook this lamb tagine in a small modern but traditionally shaped pot, but you can use a small frying pan if you like.
Frequently Asked Questions
What cut of lamb should I use?
You should avoid leaner cuts of meat for this recipe and opt for something with a little fat.
For me, that means lamb shoulder and I use it in everything from my lamb madras and Greek youvetsi to my lamb burgers.
If you can get it, lamb neck fillet also makes a great tagine. It has around 20% fat and it is arguably the cut of lamb with the most flavour.
Do I have to use a tagine pot?
No, you can use a small skillet if you like. Be careful not to go too large, you will also need something with a lid.
I use a 22cm (9″) tagine made by Staub, it has an iron base, which means that I can use it on my induction hob.
What is Za’atar?
I use za’atar a lot in everything from my zaatar halloumi recipe to my beef kofta.
It is a spice blend featuring sumac, savoury, oregano, thyme and sesame seeds among other stuff It is super easy to make it at home, here is a zaatar recipe to get you started.
Do I have to use dates?
No, but the sweetness really is a fantastic contrast to the richness of the lamb. You could swap them out for dried apricots if they are more to your taste.
I use them in a similar way in my mixed vegetable tagine.
I’ve served this fruity lamb tagine with some buttered couscous in these pictures.
It is a wonderful conduit for flavour and there is plenty of that to go around in this recipe, so there is little need to pile more in and muddy the flavour profiles.
If you want something a little more “showy” add some batata harra which are spicy Lebanese potatoes.
Flatbread also makes a fantastic side for a tagine, and this Lebanese manakish recipe doubles down on the za’atar that features in this dish.
I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- Small 20-24cm (8-10″) tagine or similarly sized frying pan with a lid. You can improvise using foil for a lid if needed.
- Kitchen knife.
- Chopping board.
- Mixing bowl.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
This deliciously rich and indulgent Moroccan-influenced lamb tagine is sweetly spiced and features dates and almonds.
- 350g (12oz) Lamb
- 150g (1 Cup) Onion
- 2 Tbsp Rapeseed (Canola) Oil
- 10cm (4") Piece Cinnamon Bark
- ½ Tsp Ground Turmeric
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 Tsp Dried Mint
- ½ Tsp Black pepper
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 50g (⅓ Cup) Blanched Almonds
- 75g (Around 10) Pitted Dates
- 1 Tsp Honey
- 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 75ml (⅓ Cup) Water
- Lots of Fresh Parsley
- Zaatar to serve
- Peel the onions, cut them in half and slice them into 1cm (½") thick half-moon shapes.
- Heat the oil in a small tagine or small frying pan (that you have a lid for) over a low-medium heat.
- Add the cinnamon bark and the onions, then cook for 10 minutes. Do not stir, you want to get a nice golden colour on the base layer of onions, if they brown too quickly reduce the heat a little.
- If the dates are not pitted, remove the stone and then tear the dates into strips.
- Cut the lamb into 1.5-2cm (between ½" and ¾") cubes and place it in a bowl with the almonds and dates.
- Sprinkle over the cumin, turmeric, coriander, dried mint, salt and black pepper.
- Pour in the lemon juice and the honey and give everything a mix.
- Add the lamb to the pan or tagine and pour in enough water to create a 1cm (½") layer in the pan or tagine, this will be around 75ml (⅓ Cup).
- Add a lid, reduce the heat to very low and cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours.
- Remove the lid give everything a stir and turn the heat up to high for 5 minutes to reduce the cooking liquid a little.
- Serve with lots fo freshly chopped parsley and a generous sprinkle of zaatar.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 875Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 722mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 8gSugar: 33gProtein: 50g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.