Moroccan lamb tagine with cous cous

A tagine, historically a Berber dish, is a succulent stew made of meats and vegetables and traditionally cooked in a conical clay pot to allow the steam to rise, condense and drip back down to the stew. The traditional method of cooking is to place the tagine over coals, and typically the dish includes meat, chicken or fish, and most often vegetables or fruit. Because this meal takes a long time to prepare, the woman of the house starts preparing the lunch tagine as soon as breakfast is over.

Serves 4


3 tbsp olive oil
1kg diced lamb
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch saffron
3/4 tsp ground coriander
2 medium onions, halved then cut into wedges
5 carrots – quartered, then sliced lengthwise into thin strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp grated root ginger
1 lemon, zested
400ml chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cornflour (optional)
1 tbsp water (optional)
Buttered couscous, to serve


1. Place diced lamb in a bowl, toss with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, and set aside. In a large resealable bag, toss together the paprika,turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt, ginger, saffron and coriander; mix well. Add the lamb to the bag, and toss to coat well. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

2. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add 1/3 of the lamb, and brown well. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining lamb. Add onions and carrots to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh garlic and root ginger; continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Return the lamb to the pot and stir in the lemon zest, chicken stock, tomato purée and honey. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, then serve with steaming buttered couscous.

4. If the consistency of the tagine is too thin, you may thicken it with a mixture of cornflour and water during the last 5 minutes.

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