| Prep Time: 10 mins
| Cook Time: 60 mins
| Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
You may need: Dried Garlic Powder
Tagine is a traditional North African stew as well as the conical-shaped clay pot used in the region to cook stews. Tagine recipes typically feature meats, fish, or vegetables braised in a rich broth spiked with exotic spices, dried fruit and nuts. The hypnotic scents wafting through your kitchen from cooking our Lamb Tagine with apricots recipe will transport you to the enchanting alleys of old Casablanca and heighten the anticipation of a delicious meal to come.
This recipe features our Ras El Hanout spice blend. Ras El Hanout is an Arabic phrase that means “Top Shelf”. In other words, it’s a spice blend that features a spice shop’s best and most exotic mix of spices, enhanced by alluring floral notes. Many authentic Ras el Hanout blends have 20 or more ingredients. Spice merchants and Moroccan grandmothers alike keep their recipes and ingredients a guarded secret. Luxurious, exotic, and sure to please any refined palate, you'll see this spice blend on the menus of top chefs around the world wherever they seek to elevate a dish. This lamb tagine with apricots delivers an outsized payoff for very little effort (other than patiently waiting to eat). Serve dished over couscous, quinoa, or with crusty bread to mop up the savory sauce.
2 lbs of lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1″ cubes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
1 can (15 oz) of low-salt diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of dried apricots, chopped
3 cups of low-salt chicken broth
1/2 (15oz) can of chickpeas drained & rinsed (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp of chopped nuts (pecans, pistachios or almonds)
1 tbsp of chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley (optional)
Lamb shoulder is the preferred cut because it has a bit more marbling of fat to enhance the flavor of the dish. But you can use other cuts of lamb and/or trim fat as needed.
Cut the lamb into cubes. You'll want pieces that you can eat in a single bite.
Other dried fruits and nuts make great additions, including dates, prunes, cranberries, pecans, almonds, and / or pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
Can you use fresh, ripe tomatoes instead of the canned ones? Of course, but unless it's the height of summer when ripe tomatoes abound, we recommend using canned tomatoes,which are typically harvested and canned at peak ripeness. You'll get a consistently good meal using canned tomatoes rather than using bland, year-round supermarket tomatoes shipped in from Central and South America.
Trim the fat off the lamb and cut into cubes. Season with salt & pepper. Heat a large pan or skillet on Med-High. When hot, add 1 Tbsp of oil and the lamb. Cook the lamb for 2-3 mins then flip. Cook for 2-3 more mins until all pieces are lightly browned. Remove lamb to a bowl.
Return pan to heat and add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Sauté onions until golden, ~ 5 mins. Add garlic, lemon juice, and Ras El Hanout spice then cook for 1 min.
Add tomatoes, apricots, broth, chickpeas and lamb (and any juices in bowl). Stir to mix ingredients and bring to a low simmer. Turn heat to Low and cover.
Simmer the stew for approximately 45 mins, or until the lamb is tender. Remove saucepan from heat. Let briefly cool (~5 mins). Garnish with chopped nuts and herbs. Serve with couscous, quinoa, or crusty bread.
Lamb is taste that we're very fond of, but not everyone shares our sentiment. If you're looking for a meat substitute for lamb, we recommend using beef. Try to pick a piece of beef that has some marbling of fat to fully capture the flavor of this dish.
With a couple easy tweaks, you can make this recipe vegan. Simply use vegetable broth and sub in chopped portobello mushrooms, cubed sweet potatoes, carrots, and/or baked tofu for the lamb and adjust the cooking time down about 10 mins. You want the root vegetables to soften but not turn to mush.
This lamb tagine recipe can also be made using a slow cooker. Simply prep all ingredients (except the fresh cilantro) and place in the slow cooker, pouring the broth last. Stir to mix, cover, then cook for 8-10 hours on Low or 4-5 hours on High.
Piquant Post Ras El Hanout spice blend can be used directly as a rub for meats like chicken, lamb or beef. You can cook your meat as you like after using the rub.
Traditional Moroccan food includes lots of vegetarian options. You can substitute many roasted root vegetables such as butternut squash for lamb in our recipe to make it into a vegetarian dish. Or make roasted cauliflower with our Ras El Hanout. Another vegetarian option is this sweet potato chickpea tagine. You can skip the rosewater because our Ras El Hanout already has floral notes including culinary grade rose petals and lavender..
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