Lamb tagine with dried fruit recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Lamb
  • Lamb tagine

An aromatic North African-style casserole, richly flavoured with dried fruits and warmly spiced with ginger and cinnamon. The sweetness of the honey tempers the fiery harissa, and chickpeas add a high fibre carbohydrate to the dish.

90 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g lean boneless lamb, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp saffron
  • 500ml vegetable stock, hot
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • zest of 1 orange, cut into strips
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp harissa, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 16 baby onions, about 275g in total, peeled
  • 125g ready-to-eat stoned dates
  • 125g ready-to-eat dried apricots
  • 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:2hr ›Ready in:2hr30min

  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep saucepan or flameproof casserole. Add the cubes of lamb and fry until lightly browned. Push the meat to one side and add the chopped onion to the pan. Fry for 5–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden.
  2. Stir the saffron into the hot stock, then pour into the pan. Add the tomato purée, strips of orange zest and spices. Stir well, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and leave to simmer gently for 1½ hours.
  3. Uncover the pan and take out about a teacup of the sauce. Stir in the harissa and honey, then stir this back into the pan.
  4. Add the baby onions, dates, apricots and chickpeas and stir to mix. Simmer gently, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Season to taste and scatter the chopped walnuts over the top, then serve. Put a little extra harissa on the table for those who like more heat.

Recently viewed

Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(5)

Reviews in English (4)

i made lamb tagine last night and it was absolutely delicious. recommend it and easy to make.-13 Nov 2011

Beautifull! Looking forward to left overs tomorrow! Yum-26 Mar 2013

Great recipe. Swapped sweet potato for chickpeas as not popular in our house. Used a little orange juice as I had no oranges.-27 Apr 2018

Lamb Tagine with Dried Fruit

Combine the first five ingredients and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 200°C / gas mark 6.

Step 2

Peel the onions and coarsely grate them onto kitchen paper. Squeeze out excess moisture.

Step 3

Over a gentle heat, warm the butter and vegetable oil in a large, lidded casserole or tagine. Sauté the onions for about 4 minutes until very soft. Stir in the spices, black pepper and garlic and stir constantly for 2 minutes.

Step 4

Remove the lamb from the marinade and put into the pan. Raise the heart and brown the lamb, about 5 minutes per side.

Step 5

Add the potatoes and stir to coat well in the spices. Add the lamb stock and tomato puree and stir well, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan.

Step 6

Tie the bay leaf, parsley and coriander stems in a bundle and put in the pot along with the fresh lemon and saffron. Stir well. Cover and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.

Step 7

Take the casserole out of the oven and remove lamb with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Dispose of the coriander and parsley bundle and lemon wedges. Boil to thicken the sauce slightly, 3-5 minutes. Stir in artichokes, olives, preserved lemons and lamb and warm through.

Step 8

Add salt if needed, sprinkle with coriander and toasted almonds and serve with rice or couscous.


  • About 2 pounds/1 kilogram beef (or lamb, cut into 2-inch or 3-inch pieces)
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 or 2 small pieces (2-inch to 3-inch) of cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (crumbled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ras El Hanout
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small handful of cilantro (coriander, tied into a bouquet)
  • About 2 pounds/1 kilogram pears (fresh, very firm)
  • 1/3 cup broth (reserved from cooking the meat)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional: pinch of salt
  • Optional: fried almonds for garnish
  • Optional: toasted golden sesame seeds for garnish

How to make lamb tagine

Take a look at this step by step tutorial &ndash please note you will find the full recipe, including ingredients in the recipe card at the end of this post.

Step 1. Heat light olive oil in your pressure cooker and brown the lamb for a few minutes, in batches if necessary. Set aside. If you are short of time you can skip browning the lamb and instead add it in with remaining ingredients on Step 3.

Step 2. If there&rsquos any browned bits at the bottom of the pot, deglaze with a splash of stock or water. Add the chopped onion and cook for five minutes, stirring, until softened.

Step 3. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and stir to release the wonderful aromas.

Step 4. Return the lamb to the pot and stir to combine. Add the lemon juice, tomato paste, apricots and honey. Stir to combine.

Step 5. Add the chopped tin tomatoes, chickpeas and hot stock.

Step 6. Cover, set vent to sealing and cook for 20 minutes at high pressure. Allow for 10 minutes natural pressure release then manually release the remaining steam.

Step 7. Discard the cinnamon stick. Taste and season if necessary. Garnish with the coriander and chopped pistachios and serve.

Cooking on the stove / Slow Cooker

The method is very similar to the step by step breakdown above &ndash simply use a large lidded casserole dish and adjust the liquid levels.

You will need more stock to make this recipe on the stove &ndash two cups (500ml) instead of one . Cook gently over very low heat, stirring occasionally, and add more stock or water if needed.

To cook in a slow cooker, follow the stovetop method but make sure to check the notes on how much stock to add.

Avoid opening the slow cooker &ndash every time you take a peek the heat drops, adding to your cooking time!

What to serve with lamb tagine

Couscous or giant couscous are perfect for serving with this stew, absorbing the rich sauce. You can also serve over cauliflower rice for a lower carb option.

Basmati rice or mashed potatoes are also suitable &ndash though not as traditional &ndash sides. Top with a little natural or Greek yoghurt and serve with flatbreads to mop up the delicious sauce.

Storing and Freezing Instructions

This stew keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days, with the spices intensifying the longer you store it. You can also freeze it, before you add any garnishes such as herbs and nuts.

Remove the cinnamon stick and cool completely. Freeze, in portions, for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight and heat until piping hot before serving.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Sweet Honey Figs

Today I’m taking you to a special place where family and friends gather around the dinner table with happy hearts. Silverware is optional, but bread is not. Settle into this sacred space, where tagine of lamb meets chestnuts, figs, cinnamon, honey, and orange blossom water. Pause for a moment to celebrate this crazy wonderful combination, to feel the hot air blow through your hair, then dig in and scoop up the glory with a handful of bread. When you’re done, cozy up to an evening of conversation so good you wish you could bottle it.

Tagines are Moroccan party food – each nibble is filled with glorious, cheerful flavor a festive bite of beauty a deep, dark bowl of goodness, glimmering like the Moroccan night sky.

To be honest, there was a time when the word “tagine” sent shivers down my spine. The very word sounded terribly exotic which, in my mind, translated to “extraordinarily difficult to make.”

If I only knew how wrong I was.

Bouregreg Valley, Morocco. Photo by Nomadz.

I’ve since learned that many Moroccan tagines, such as this lamb tagine, are simply braised meats slow cooked with a bouquet of spices, topped with sweet, dried fruit. While there are more complicated versions (and even ones with preserved lemons and olives, instead of the sweet note I’ve chosen to take on), the most common recipes don’t even call for browning the meat.

I mean, really. If there’s one thing I can do, it’s cook meat low and slow. And, if there’s one thing Mr Picky loves, it’s slow cooked meat.

It’s like this meal was written in the stars.

My recipe is a combination of several recipes. To start with, I browsed Paula Wolfert‘s recipe books. This woman is a powerhouse of all things Mediterranean and is aptly described by Maroc Mama as the Julia Child of Moroccan cooking. I also looked through Claudia Roden’s Arabesque. With the help of these ladies, as well as tidbits from half a dozen other cookbooks, I culled together the best of the best, of the best.

A tender tagine good enough for Sunday dinner, but easy enough for every day.

The highly fragrant lamb, dried figs and sweet chestnuts makes for pure love when combined with the honey and cinnamon. Amazingly, this tagine still tastes majorly savory, thanks to the saffron, ginger, and garlic.

NOTES: While a ceramic tagine is ideal for slow, moist cooking, you can also make a great tagine in a heavy bottomed French oven. If you use a ceramic tagine, be sure to soak it overnight in water to keep it from cracking. Also, never heat it over medium heat. You can eat tagine with a fork, if you’d like, or you can scoop it up the traditional way – with flatbread or even French bread. Orange blossom water is available at Middle Eastern markets.


1 red onion, sliced in half moons
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

4 lb lamb, cut in large chunks (I used a boneless leg of lamb)

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp saffron threads
salt, to taste
1 1/2 tsp pepper

For the fig and chestnut garnish:

7 ounces of dried figs
1 cup of jarred, roasted chestnuts

2 Tbsp Butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1 tsp orange blossom water, optional

First, put on a little Moroccan music. Then, layer the bottom of a tagine with sliced onion and vegetable oil. Gently heat over medium and cook to soften the onions.

Meanwhile, gather your spices. Saffron lends the most haunting flavor to the tagine, while ginger and garlic give it kick. And cinnamon makes everything better.

Cut the lamb in large chunks and toss with spice mixture.

Add to tagine and cook until tender (I cooked mine at a gentle simmer from 1:00pm-5pm and it was outrageously good. You can cook yours for just 2 hours and still have good results).

Meanwhile, take a little stroll. On a camel, if you’d like.

Sahara in Morocco. Photo by Bachmont.

I found that I didn’t need to add any water to my tagine, as the meat and the onion released quite a bit of juices and the tagine could barely hold them all. That being said, most recipes recommend adding 1/2 cup of water. If yours seems dry, just drizzle a bit of water down through the hole in the top of the tagine. This way the cold water will cause the steam to condense and drip back down over the meat.

While the meat is cooking, filling your home with the scent of “good,” get to work on the special honey fig and chestnut garnish.

In a small pot, toss the figs with butter, water, honey, and orange blossom water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in the chestnuts.

They become ooey, gooey and absolutely irresistible. In fact, I recommend making some extra so you can sneak a few, guilt-free. That’s what I did!

Set the rest aside and add to the tagine in the last five minutes of cooking.

Some people like to roll the figs in sesame seeds, but I couldn’t wait to eat!

Garnish with torn parsley for a little blast of color.

Step back a moment and enjoy that beauty… wow.

It’s just like a sparkling Moroccan night, but in your very own kitchen.

Jemaa el-Fnaa at night. Photo by Procsilas

We ate outside while listening to the chirping birds. I’ve never had such tender meat there was no need for knives.

There’s something about eating tagine outside with friends that makes me feel like I’m on vacation.

No need to buy expensive cuts of lamb!

There are plenty of very tender and decently priced cuts, such as shanks, or neck. If you start with bone-in parts, you will get a more complex more gelatinous sauce, but there are times where you might be cooking for a larger group and might not be able to accommodate the bones in your pot. In this case boned is fine too.

No problem making dried fruit tajine with beef.

The recipe remains the same.


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced in a food processor
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups pitted prunes, packed
  • 1 ½ cups dry apricots, packed
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted 15 minutes in a 300 degree oven


Bring the meat and water to boil in a large heavy pot.
Reduce the flame to medium and cook, covered, 2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook, on a medium high flame, until dark brown. Add the sugar and cook 1 more minute.

After the meat has cooked 2 hours, add the fried onions, saffron, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon sticks and ground pepper, and cook 45 more minutes. Add the ground cinnamon and dry fruit, and cook 15 more minutes. Transfer the meat and fruit to a platter with a slotted spoon. If the liquid in the pot is too thin, reduce at high flame until thickened, and pour over meat. Just before serving, sprinkle the dried fruit tajine with the almonds.

Braised Lamb With Dried Fruit

If you’re in for something new for tonight’s dinner, you can let pork aside, and buy a thick cut of lamb shoulder. You can cook it in lots of ways, but try this recipe, that has lots of surprising flavors in store for you. We’ve mixed lamb with dried fruit and we’ve cooked it on the stove in a rich and savory sauce.

Fruit and veg

Onions are a must – if you’d really like to keep things traditional, as well as make life easy for yourself at the same time, copy Guinaudeau-Franc and chuck them in whole and raw, and remove and discard before serving. You will, however, miss out on the sweetness that cooked onion brings to the party, so I suggest sauteeing them and then, like Wolfert, adding them to the pot in two stages, so some retain their texture in the finished dish. It’s not much more work, and I think it’s worth it.

Zette Guinaudeau-Franc’s tagine uses simple spicing, prunes and orange-blossom water.

Wolfert, Benkabbou and Henry all put garlic in their tagines, adding a more savoury note that is a nice optional extra, though I don’t think my recipe needs it to be delicious. Instead, I’m going to pack it full of fruit. Recipes abound for fruit tagines, some using fresh (Gregory-Smith has one with quince, Koehler pear), many with the dried variety: Koehler suggests figs, Guinaudeau-Franc prunes, Roden and Lawson dates and Benkabbou apricots and dates – a combination that seems to me to be the nicest, because the intense, sugary sweetness of the dates is balanced by the sharper apricots, but really, use whatever you like. Labour-saving cooks could add the fruit whole, but we all prefer it roughly chopped, so that it breaks down into the gravy, rather than plonked on top and crisped in the oven, as in Wolfert’s recipe.

A spoonful of honey is an optional extra: I’m with Roden in that I think it makes the dish too sweet, but you’ll know your own taste. The same goes for Guinaudeau-Franc’s orange-blossom water not everyone is keen on the floral flavour, but if you’re a fan, stick in a splash at the end of cooking. And if you’re into sweet-and-sour, then Lawson’s pomegranate juice in place of water is a nice twist.

Nigella Lawson garnishes her tagine with a red onion and pomegranate salsa.

Ingredients (14)

Moroccan Lamb Dried Fruit Tajine

4 pounds lamb shanks, or lamb or beef cubes

8 cups water

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced in a food processor

2 tablespoons sugar

2 pinches saffron

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 and 1/2 cups Manischewitz Pitted Prunes, packed

1 and 1/2 cups Manischewitz Dried Apricots, packed

1 cup slivered almonds, toasted 15 minutes in a 300-degree oven

Lamb tagine with dried fruit recipe - Recipes

Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Dates and Dried Apricots

½ tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder/stew meat cut into cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning the lamb
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch saffron threads, crumbled
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
10 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


All rights reserved. All images, designs and recipes copyright 2016 by Felice Soifer, MD

* Please note: All photos and artwork on this site are protected by copyright law and cannot be used without written permission.

If you would like to feature any of my recipes or photos on your site, please contact me first. Thank you.

Watch the video: Entertv: Γλυκόξινο κοτόπουλο με αποξηραμένα φρούτα από την Α. Μπαρμπαρίγου Β (December 2021).