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Moroccan Tagine of Lamb with Potatoes and Olives Recipe

Updated on July 26, 2018
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Moroccan cuisine is probably most famous for its couscous, and with good reason. Such a wonderfully smooth and delectable dish, so adaptable and flexible, is justly renowned around the world, even if the three countries of the Maghreb - Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia - compete over who makes the most authentic and best version. It is only a pity that a couscoussier is needed to make it, at least for the finest version, but then that's life. However, this recipe is also I believe a splendid product of Morocco, being a deliciously tender stew with a host of various ingredients which combine to make a very rich and thick sauce, prepared long enough for much of the water to reduce and hence to make a very potent and satisfying stew. The addition of potatoes and olives make it somewhat unique, and garlic and plenty of cilantro also shows through. Served with accompaniments such as bread, rice, or if you have it, couscous, it makes for a wonderful dinner. I must fear that I did not make mine sufficiently thick enough in sauce, so be attentive to provide for a very thick sauce ; it should be like an extremely rich stew, instead of like a soup. It would also be good with alternative meats, above all else chicken, and it is flexible enough to support a great variety of additional spices incorporated.

This isn't a true tajine, which should be much less like a soup. But it is still quite tasty.

I have adopted this recipe from Tanjia Marrakchia: Culinary Adventures at Dar Les Cigognes by E. P. Lenderking. My main addition was a change in the quantities of garlic and an increase in garlic, which actually was inspired by a recipe stemming from the splendid cookbook Rose Water and Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood. I had found it to be such a good addition and amélioration that I decided it should be an integral part of my version of the recipe.

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  • 2 lb lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon juice of
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 bunches cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Allow the peeled and sliced potatoes to soak in water. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, combine the meat with 1 teaspoon dried ginger, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the finely diced onions, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Cover with just enough water to cover, salt lightly, then bring to a boil. Once at a boil reduce to just below a boil for 1 1/2 hours so that the liquids reduce.
  2. Add the potatoes into the stew, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add in 4 cloves of minced garlic, sautée for 30 seconds, then the cilantro leaves. Cook until the leaves have absorbed the olive oil and are appropriately wilted.
  4. Add the cilantro leaves with their garlic into the stew, and the olives. Cook for 5 minutes more, then add the lemon juice, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, and serve.

© 2018 Ryan Thomas


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