Lamb Tagine with Green Olives and Lemon


When making most stews, cooks typically brown the meat before braising it; here, Ethan Stowell skips that step, which simplifies the Moroccan recipe and gives the lamb a buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture. The dish is vibrantly flavored with ginger, cumin, coriander, olives and lemon; the broth is delicious over couscous. 

Lamb Tagine with Green Olives and Lemon
Photo: © Kana Okada
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • Two 2 1/2-inch strips of lemon zest

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled

  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 cups water

  • 6 large carrots, thinly sliced

  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 2 cups pitted green Picholine olives, rinsed

  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, ginger, paprika, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, cloves, saffron, cinnamon stick and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Add the lamb and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

  2. Scrape the lamb and spices into a tagine or a medium enameled cast-iron casserole; discard the lemon zest. Add the water, carrots and onion and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the lamb is very tender, about 2 hours.

  3. Spoon off any fat from the broth. Stir in the olives, season with salt and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, cilantro and lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Serve With


Suggested Pairing

A smoky Syrah.

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