Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Melting Tomatoes & Onions

Yield 4-6
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 3 large red onions, 1 grated and 2 thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Moroccan spice mixture (see below)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 3-inch piece Ceylon or Mexican cinnamon stick, lightly crushed
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons mild olive oil
  • 6 plum tomatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise and seeded
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 large flatbreads (or soft flour tortillas), for serving
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground Ceylon or Mexican cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cubeb berries, optional
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Recipe notes
This recipe is found in Paula Wolfert's excellent book, Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking. Smoky and fragrant, this convivial dish should be served with torn flatbread (and if you like, cold beer).
RECIPE Preparation
  1. Make the Moroccan spice mixture. Stir all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.
  2. Trim away any excess fat from the lamb. Cut all the chops into 1 1/2-inch chunks with the bones.
  3. Soak the raisins in warm water for 15 minutes.
  4. Place the lamb, grated onion, Moroccan spice mixture, cayenne, saffron, cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon salt, ghee or butter, and half the oil in the tagine. Place on a heat diffuser over low heat until the aroma of spices is released, about 10 minutes. Do not brown the meat. Add 1/2 cup hot water and slowly bring to a boil.
  5. Drain the raisins. Cover meat with the onion slices and raisins and spread the tomatoes, cut side down, on top. Cover the tagine, reduce the meat to low, and cook for 2 hours.
  6. With one rack in the center position, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Remove the top of the tagine and tilt the pot to pour all of the liquid into a medium-sized skillet. Skim the fat off of the top of the liquid, then boil it down to 3/4 cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the reduced juices over the tomatoes in the tagine. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Scatter the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the top. Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, drizzle over the remaining oil, and cook until crusty and lightly charred, about 5 minutes.
  8. To serve: gently heat the bread and tear into large pieces. Spread about 1/3 of the bread onto a large serving platter. Spoon about 1/2 of the contents of the tagine on top. Repeat with another third of the bread and the remaining contents of the tagine. Top with the rest of the bread, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.