Moroccan lamb tagine served with spicy rice is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Fruity apricots add a sweet and tangy flavour, while the spicy rice gives it a nice kick. Cooking it in a tagine ensures that the lamb remains tender and succulent while allowing the aromatic spices to permeate through every mouthful.
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What is Moroccan lamb tagine?
At its simplest form, a lamb tagine is simply a lamb stew! But this isn’t just any old stew. This is my version of a Moroccan lamb stew that is absolutely packed with the flavours of North Africa.
For the vegetable component, I added fruity apricots, carrots and chickpeas and used lots of warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, cumin and paprika for plenty of flavour. I didn’t add any chilli because I wanted to be able to savour the warmth and aromas of the spices without any additional heat.
For the meat I used bone-in lamb chops, but you can use any cut of lamb for this Moroccan lamb tagine. The tougher cuts of lamb such as neck or shoulder are a good choice, as the long slow cooking time helps to tenderise the lamb.
To serve with the tagine, I made a dish of spicy Moroccan rice and carried similar flavours from the lamb through into the rice.
To ensure the lamb remained moist and succulent I cooked this Moroccan lamb stew in a tagine.
What is a tagine?
A tagine refers both to the cooking method (slow-cooked stew) and the cooking vessel.
The cooking vessel itself is a cooking pot with a conical-shaped lid. Tagines were originally made of clay, either glazed or unglazed, but nowadays you can get tagines made from both ceramic and even cast iron.
The shape of the lid traps the steam during the cooking process. The steam then condenses and drips back down into the food ensuring that the food remains both moist and succulent.
The base of the tagine is normally used as the serving bowl for whatever it is that you have cooked in it.
If you don’t have a tagine you can get a similar result by using a heavy cast iron dutch oven or even a casserole dish with a tightly fitting lid.
What you will need
This recipe will feed 4 people.
**You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this Moroccan lamb tagine on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
As with all stews, you can mix and match ingredients to suit your own taste, and you don’t have to be too precise with measurements. This is what I used. I would be inclined to stick with my choice of spices though because that’s what gives this stew the flavour.
Lamb chops – I used lamb chops but you could use any cut of lamb you choose. 2 to 3 lamb chops will be sufficient for one person (depending on the size of the chops). If you decide to use boneless lamb (eg cubed shoulder) then you should allow 150 grams (or 5 ounces) per person.
Tomato and onion – because what is a stew without tomato and onion? They should both be cut into approximately half-inch pieces.
Carrots – add a touch of sweetness. They should also be cut into half-inch pieces.
Chickpeas – great for adding extra protein and also full of fibre, making this stew not only tasty but good for you too!
Apricots – I bought a bag of soft, dried apricots from either Lidl or Aldi (can’t remember which) and cut them into smallish pieces. They add a lovely sweet fruitiness to the stew. If you can’t find apricots you could use sultanas instead – or if you like a lot of fruit you could use both!
Garlic – I used the equivalent of 3 cloves of chopped garlic from a jar.
Stock – I used a vegetable stock pot dissolved in a cup of boiling water. You could use lamb (if you can find it) or chicken. I think beef would be too strong – but that’s just my opinion.
Lemon juice (mistakenly labelled in the image as oil 🙂 ) – the tartness adds an additional depth of flavour. If you don’t have any you can leave it out or use a splash of vinegar, or even stir in a tablespoon of natural yoghurt.
Flaked almonds – these were sprinkled on top of each plate when I served the stew. If you don’t have any or are allergic to nuts, just leave them out.
Olive Oil – for browning the chops and frying the onions.
Spices – this is the mix of spices I used:
- Ginger powder
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground cumin
- Ground paprika
- Ground turmeric
- Salt – to your own taste.
What to do
Combine the salt and spices in a bowl and use them to coat the lamb chops. Reserve any remaining spices to add to the tagine.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and brown the chops for 2 minutes per side until they are nicely seared.
Transfer the browned chops to the base of the tagine.
Using the same frying pan brown the onions and garlic for 3 minutes until the onions start to turn translucent (you may need an additional splash of oil).
Add the onions to the lamb chops in the tagine along with the rest of the ingredients (and any remaining spices).
Cover the tagine with the lid and place it into the oven (180C / 360F) for one and a half hours.
Garnish with flaked almonds and serve hot with spicy Moroccan rice.
If you are cooking cubed lamb shoulder (without the bone) or lamb neck (which is quite a tough cut of lamb) you may want to leave the tagine in the oven for another half an hour.
You should find that the gravy in the tagine has thickened sufficiently. However, if you feel that the gravy needs thickening, make a slurry with one tablespoon of cornflour and 2 tablespoons of water, stir it into the tagine and place it (uncovered) back in the oven for 5 minutes.
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Moroccan lamb tagine FAQ
I served it with spicy rice, but you can serve it with couscous if you prefer. You may also like to add flatbread or a fresh green side salad sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.
The answer to this one is ‘it depends on what cut of meat you are using’. I used lamb rib chops and it took one and a half hours. If you are using a tougher cut of meat such as neck or shoulder (or even shanks) it will probably take closer to 2 hours.
If you have any leftover lamb tagine you can freeze it (once it has cooled down). Pack it into suitable freezer-safe containers and freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost it in the refrigerator and reheat it in a saucepan on the stove.
This Moroccan lamb tagine can be safely stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Some people say the flavour actually improved on standing overnight! Reheat it in a saucepan on the stove.
Save for later
If you would like to make this Moroccan lamb tagine yourself, why not save the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
If you enjoyed this Moroccan lamb tagine, you may also enjoy some of my other Moroccan-themed recipes too:
- Moroccan lamb meatballs with homemade tomato sauce – succulent lamb meatballs served in a tangy homemade tomato sauce.
- Moroccan chicken in pita – tender chicken pieces with roasted vegetables in a zesty yoghurt sauce, wrapped in fluffy pita bread.
- Lamb keema – a tasty lamb mince curry topped with a baked egg.
- Lamb pide – a soft and chewy bread dough stuffed with a filling of lamb, onions, tomatoes, red pepper and spices.
Moroccan lamb tagine
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 1½ pounds / 700 grams lamb chops
- 1 large tomato diced
- 1 large red onion peeled and diced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 10 ounces / 400 gram can chickpeas drained
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 ounces / 60 grams soft dried apricots diced
- 1 cup / 240 ml stock vegetable or chicken
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 – 2 tablespoons flaked almonds for garnish
- 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil for browning the meat
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Combine the salt and spices and use them to coat the lamb chops. Reserve any remaining spices to add into the tagine.Salt to taste, 1 teaspoon ginger powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground paprika, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1½ pounds / 700 grams lamb chops
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and brown the chops for 2 minutes per side until they are nicely seared.1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Transfer the browned chops into the base of the tagine.
- Using the same frying pan brown the onions and garlic for 3 minutes until the onions start to turn translucent (you may need an additional splash of oil).1 large red onion, 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- Add the onions to the lamb chops in the tagine along with the rest of the ingredients (and any remaining spices).1 large tomato, 2 medium carrots, 10 ounces / 400 gram can chickpeas, 2 ounces / 60 grams soft dried apricots, 1 cup / 240 ml stock, 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Cover the tagine with the lid and place it into the oven (180C / 360F) for one and a half hours.
- Remove the tagine from the oven and garnish with flaked almonds. Serve hot with spicy Moroccan rice or couscous.1 – 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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