Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Lamb Tagine with Olives and Lemon

Lamb Tagine with Olives and Lemon

My wife, Meghan, and I took advantage of our proximity to Morocco to spend a long weekend there. We fell in love with tagines and ordered several during our visit. If you don’t own a tagine—the large ceramic vessel with a conical top that seems unique to North Africa— use a Dutch oven to cook the stew. 


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and 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 
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups pitted green Picholine olives 
  • 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 
  • 1 cup at-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Couscous, for serving 


Step 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. 

Step 2

Tip the lamb and spices into a large 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. 

Step 2

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. (Discard the cinnamon stick.) Ladle into bowls and serve with couscous and extra olive oil for drizzling. 

Serves 8Recipe from Food and Wine, October 2008