Persian Lamb Tagine

Looking for that perfect winter dish? Look no further than this tantalising North African styled lamb stew.



  • 2kg lamb neck fillets
  • 5 tbsp mild olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 3 medium red onions, chopped into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Salt and pepper
  • Large pinch of saffron
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 preserved lemon (from a jar), drained and cut into thin wedges
  • 300g ready-to-eat dried apricot
  • 250g ready-to-eat dried pitted dates
  • 100g shelled pistachios
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • 25g cornflour
  • Small bunch coriander, leaves roughly chopped
  • Cooked couscous, to serve


  1. Heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Trim the lamb of any hard fat, cut into chunks and season all over. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large flame-proof casserole dish and brown the lamb over a high heat for one to two minutes until lightly coloured. Add one table spoon of oil between each batch and transfer to a bowl when browned.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the same dish, over a medium heat and fry the onions for five minutes or until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, one teaspoon of ground black pepper and one teaspoon flaked sea salt. Cook for 1 min, stirring. Return the lamb to the dish and add 1.5 litres of water, the saffron, cinnamon and lemons. Bring to a simmer, stirring a few times. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for an hour.
  4. Carefully remove the dish from the oven and stir in the apricots, dates and half the pistachios, then cover once more and return to the oven. Cook for a further 30 minutes or until the lamb is very tender.
  5. Transfer the dish to the hob and adjust the seasoning to taste. Mix the cornflour with the rosewater and three tablespoons of cold water, then stir into the tagine. Cook over a medium heat for two minutes or until the sauce thickens. (Thickening the sauce with cornflour isn’t traditional but helps the tagine to freeze more successfully.) When ready to serve, roughly chop the remaining nuts and sprinkle over the top. Garnish with coriander and serve with couscous.

Recipe adjusted from BBC Good Food.



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