A delicious, easy to follow Moroccan lamb tagine with preserved lemons and olives. Perfect with cous cous, bread or rice.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Table of contents
I don’t suppose the lamb tagine needs any introduction, quite possibly, Morocco’s most famous export, along with Ras El Hanout, made even more exotic and romantic by the conical shaped dishes it’s named after! Another dish I learnt in crimson Marrakech.
This particular recipe was made with my gravy-loving family in mind, it is quite a wet dish, and has more gravy than traditional tagines.
It’s a common misconception that tagine recipes have to be cooked in a tagine – if you don’t own one, let me put your mind at ease and say that you don’t need one to cook the recipe.
Nothing magical happens in a tagine that will not happen in a heavy based, roomy casserole dish with a tight fitting lid – that condensation that the height of the tagine lid provides will still be happening in a regular dish, no secret chemical changes are at play here!
Unless you are using an unglazed tagine and cooking it on hot coals, the taste isn’t going to be any different.
Please don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, it is an extremely easy process – get everything ready, then it’s a walk in the souk! Sorry, couldn’t resist!
What to serve this Lamb Tagine with?
Bread is the staple companion to tagines in North Africa, as is cous cous.
And if you have some harissa handy, serve the harissa on the side as a condiment if you like your food spicy or even stir 1-2 tsp of it into the tagine just before serving.
Best to marinate the lamb overnight. And just like curries, tagines are amazing the day after, reheated gently.
So, shall we get our aprons on?
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- 1 kg leg of lamb in bite sized pieces
- 750 g baby potatoes washed
- 60 ml olive oil
- 2 large onions finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
- pinch saffron
- 800 ml – 1 litre ml lamb or chicken stock homemade or additive free shop bought, as needed
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp sundried tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp runny honey
- 4 dried apricots finely sliced in slithers
- 1 preserved lemon pulp removed, rinsed and sliced thinly (good, shop bought will suffice)
- 10 green olives
- 1 tsp Ras El Hanout freshly ground would be great but don’t worry, if not
- handful fresh coriander finely chopped
- handful fresh flat leaved parsley finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp of pine nuts or toasted almond slithers
- Coat the lamb with all the dry spices and leave to marinade overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.
- Heat the oil on medium heat in a large, heavy based casserole dish, or your tagine if you’re using one. Don’t forget a diffuser under your tagine if it needs one.
- Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, until soft, stirring constantly.
- Add the garlic, sauté for about 1 minute, we don’t want the garlic browning.
- Add the lamb and brown, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
- Add the saffron, 800ml of the stock, chopped toms, tomato paste, honey & apricot slithers, stir, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours until the lamb is almost done. Add more stock if necessary or if you want more sauce.
- Add the preserved lemons and potatoes, cook for 30 more minutes.
- Turn the heat of, add the olives & sprinkle the ras el hanout all over and stir.
- Serve in a tagine, or any other dish if you prefer, with the herbs and nuts scattered all over.