Moroccan Lemon-Coriander Lamb Tagine

Before i left for my trip to the islands i made a nice lamb tagine for big bossman and i wanted to share the recipe with you. When comes the spring i crave for these big bright Mediterranean flavors, and i’m pretty sure you do too. The word tagine (or tajine) refers both to the dish and to the distinctive clay pot with a conical lid in which it is cooked. This North African “comfort” food is a staple of the region known as the Maghreb (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria) and you just won’t believe how far i went to get this recipe for you…

Abdel the camel was my travel companion… He didn’t make it. [sigh]… I’m trying not to get too emotional with this. [sigh] eeh.. May you rest in peace Abdel the camel…sniff [sigh]. Umm…Quite a tasty animal though!

Anyway, the tagine was a big success at big bossman’s table but i wasn’t totally satisfied because this is the one dish that shouldn’t be eaten on a table. Try sitting on lots of pillows on the floor instead, the way i’ve come to enjoy it in a small Moroccan restaurant in Paris (sorry i forgot the name but i remember the belly dancers!). Should i suggest pushing the furniture aside next time and create an Oasis in the middle of the dining room? Should we turn waiters into bedouins too? Would big bossman go for it? And most importantly… would he get hooked on the hookah?

err.. Thanks blue man. I have a tendency to get carried away sometimes… Hey, how did you get here and how come you’re.. blue? err.. Is th.. is this a mirage? Geez.. this blog is getting spooky.
There are countless variations of tagine, it can be made with meat, poultry or seafood mixed with vegetables or fruits and sweet spices and served with plain couscous and chickpeas and some harissa on the side. Don’t worry if you don’t have the traditional clay pot, it won’t be as dramatic but you can use a pot with a lid instead or a Le Creuzet if you have one – it’s all good. And to be authentic why don’t you hire some belly dancers, drink some mint tea, eat on pillows on the floor and get a nargile to end the evening.

Moroccan Lemon-Coriander Lamb Tagine
(serves 6)

Spice bundle:
  • 7 green cardamon pods
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes


  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder (cut into 2-inch cubes)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 whole heads garlic cut in half crosswise
  • 4 carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest removed with a sharp knife
  • 2/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Moroccan preserved lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Prepare the spice bundle: On a small square of cheesecloth, combine the cardamon seeds, star anise and red pepper flakes. Tie the cloth into a bundle with a piece of kitchen twine.

Toast the spices: Place the coriander and cumin seeds in a heavy skillet. Toast the spices over medium heat for 2 minutes, shaking the pan continuously so they don’t burn. Let cool. In a spice grinder or coffee mill, grind the spices to a powder.

Brown the lamb: Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add some of the meat in a single layer. Cook until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer the meat to a bowl and repeat with the remaining meat. Add the ground spice mixture and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Preheat oven to 350’F.

Cook the stew: Add the carrots, celery and onions. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the vinegar evaporates. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, water, tomatoes, lemon zest, and spice packet. Bring to a simmer.

Bake the stew: Cover the pot loosely to let steam escape. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender and the liquid is reduced and somewhat thickened. Discard the spice bundle and the garlic bulbs. Stir in the cilantro.

To serve: Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the preserved lemon peel. Scatter the almonds on top. Serve hot alongside couscous and chickpeas.

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  • taste memory

    I’d love to prepare this ~ enjoy cooking w.lamb and yet to make tangine. Interesting @ cup of red wine vinegar ~ can imagine that makes an incredible taste simmered w. spices+lamb!

  • Chicken & Waffles

    Lamb and sand have love written all over it. De-lish!

  • foodhuntress79

    Really, you cook tagine that can transport anyone at first bite (or at first sight :p) Let me guess, you were once upon a time a desert sheik who rules his tribe with great food… 😉

  • Linda – Nickers and Ink

    Great post. Love the cartoons too.

  • §pinzer


    damn. ur food and ur comic technique combination simply creams me to death! haha btw u have some font issues, and dude, don’t pretend to share mr camel’s sorrow AFTER having it for dinner! XD

  • Ben

    LOL, your posts always make me laugh. I’ve seen that weird looking device before, but I have never used it. One more kitchen toy that goes to my wish list. 😀

  • Peter M

    Nice tajine, is that one of them Le Creusets?

    A fun ride in your entry right down to the homey, conforting tajine…now I wanna where a fez!

  • Manggy

    Great recipe Zenman! I saw a tagine in the States and it’s so huge! It looks like it’ll be a long time before I make one :( Do you provide your own exotic cookware for your boss or was it part of their kitchen already?

    I’m not sure whether he/she would be game to rearrange their furniture, though! Haha :)

  • AzAzura

    I know I always give the same reaction to your dishes but really! you are awesome and we have the same taste in food,I love tagine and when I saw lamb, lemon , coriander .. I was about to tell you that would be a perfect dowry for a “food hoover” girl like me. :)
    My dinner would be morrocan tonight , thanks to you.

  • canarygirl

    Wow, that looks like such a wonderful burst of flavor! Ikea is selling Tagines, now…did you know that? lol I may just have to break down and get one…or maybe the Spanish casserola de barro…or both… :)

  • Claude-Olivier

    Abdel the camel…n’importe quoi mais j’ai beaucoup ri ! un plat tout en épices qui me plait beaucoup! bonne journée

  • glamah16

    I need a Tamgine after reading this. Good to know Ikea is selling them thank to a commenter.Maybe I’ll bring one back from Sweden when I go in a few weeks.As ususal you inspire me and crack me up.

  • Kate / Kajal

    haha Stephan, i love your comic strip illustration. I’m a big fan of moroccon food , but i need to get some one of those damn tagines !!!
    Another thing that would go really well is some pickled lemon, in this tagine. I always have a bottle ready for my moroccan dishes.

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    Hey I know that blue man! I think I saw him in the news looking for his camel Abdel… What a coincidence…
    The recipe is great, but you’re right: gotta eat it in the flour!

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    Of course I meant floor… I must be baking a lot… Wouldn’t be confortable eating in the flour I think…

  • Claire

    Ahah! On me tombe sur le dos pour une petite brindille de menthe de rien du tout, et toi tu saupoudres allègrement de pluches de persil! si tu crois que je n’ai pas vu!

    D’ailleurs c’est malin, maintenant j’ai faim et il n’est que cinq heures. Génial les photos/BD!

  • Elle

    Mmmm, looks fabulous! Reason #137 why I neeeeed a tagine.

  • b

    As expected, you do not disappoint us with your return recipe! I agree that a huge part of enjoying a meal is the experience and this does sound like it would be best enjoyed floor style with a bunch of cushions. Forget the fricking Tiffany china. Ugh… so pretentious for a dish like this. I love beautiful things but I’m bigger on authenticity. Then again, I say enjoy Moroccan Lemon-Coriander Lamb Tagine in your pajamas in bed if that’s what one wants to do!! Haha… yes, I’m all over the place with this comment! 😉

    Again, glad to have you back Zen.

  • Catherine Wilkinson

    hmmm…i’m getting dizzy…what was in that hookah?…is that a shek over there or a camel? Blue Man Group? where’s my purse….my shoes…omg, i’ve been sold into a harem!

    at least you’ll be there to cook.

  • cakewardrobe

    You could have used the camel hair as a nice area rug to dine on with your meal. then you wouldn’t have to think about decor! Lol you’re funny

  • Jenny

    I’ve always been intrigued by the Tagine and have wanted to buy one, now maybe I’ll have an excuse to get one! This looks great! Welcome back!

  • jesse

    Hmmm, now that you brought it up, I wonder how Abdel the camel tasted. Like chicken maybe? Hehe, good to have you back Zen!

  • Heather

    Wow, this post is totally ADA-compliant (that’s a joke about your huge-ass font, M. Zen).

    I heart your sense of humor, mon frère.

  • waliz

    i’m sure if i got a chance to taste this delicious looking food i can be a belly dancer straight away…!

  • Emiline

    Ohhh, I really love these flavors together. It looks so good! And then you add it with couscous and chickpeas, and I’m in heaven.

    I want a tagine. Maybe someday.

  • doggybloggy

    I hope you saved enough for me….

  • Meghan

    Ok… here’s the culinary novice in me….
    it says dutch oven in your instructions…so at what point do you transfer/use the Tagine?

    This recipe looks wonderful… I’d like to change it.

    The Tangine looks like the Emile Henry line from Williams Sonoma…

  • Big Boys Oven

    Hey man! you are back! great to have you back!

  • Tartelette

    “You’re back! You’re back!”…doing the happy dance! I tried to save you a slice of my bday cake but Mark ate it all :)
    My best and most beloved possession in the kitchen is my tagine mold that I got in Morocco. Love the lamb tagine!

  • maida

    pour la première fois que je découvre ton blog tu nous présentes un tagine marocain!!quelle coincidence!

  • cakebrain

    Now that’s an excuse to go out and buy a Tagine. Your pics look positively delicious!

  • Jan

    Nice looking dish of food. Love the cartoons!
    I love my tagine I bought recently and am on look out for things to make in it.

  • Dining Room Furniture

    That food looks really delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Dining Room Furniture

    That food looks really delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe.