Lamb Tagine

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This Lamb tagine is prepared with onions, saffron, tomatoes, squash and chickpeas.  The lamb is rubbed with ras el hanout and marinated before cooking.

Make Ahead: You need to marinate the lamb for 2 hours for the most flavor. The lamb is then cooked for 1 1/2 hours then refrigerated overnight.  Complete the recipe the next day. 

Featured Spice:  Ras el hanout.

Recipe By: Adapted from a version by Martha Stewart.
  • Prep35 min |
  • Total3hr 5min |
  • Serves 4


    • 3 pounds lamb shanks, sawed into 1-inch pieces
    • 3 medium onions, peeled and grated, two peeled and thickly sliced
    • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout, (or more to taste)
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
    • 1 each Large pinch saffron
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
    • 1 cup canned chickpeas
    • 3 cups pumpkin or butternut squash chunks
    • 1 each salt and freshly ground pepper


Coat lamb with grated onion, ras el hanout, and salt and pepper. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan. Add meat, and brown lightly on all sides. Add saffron, water, and cinnamon stick; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. 

Allow to cool slightly, and remove lamb. Remove meat from bones, keeping pieces as large as possible; discard fat, gristle, and bones. Season with salt and pepper. Skim fat from liquid, or refrigerate overnight, and remove fat. Refrigerate meat. 

In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon oil. Add sliced onions, and sprinkle with sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, tossing or stirring only when brown. Turn heat to low, and cook until onions are very soft and brown, about 20 more minutes.

Add tomatoes and cooking liquid from the lamb, and bring to a boil. Add meat, chickpeas, and pumpkin or squash, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer until thick, about 15 to 20 more minutes more. Correct seasonings to taste. Serve immediately with harissa sauce and lavash or pita bread.
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