This Moroccan lamb shank tagine recipe is cooked in a classic tagine pot and is not as difficult as it looks. It’s a lamb and apricot tagine that balances the earthiness of the lamb with the sweetness of the apricots in a classic Moroccan dish.
Traditional Moroccan Recipe | Tagine Pot
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Tools For This Tagine Recipe:
- Uno Casa Tagine Pot: Buy direct from Uno Casa and receive coordinating dual oven mitt, and a recipe book. Holds 3.65 quarts making it perfect for families. The exterior is made from durable and chip-resident enamel. Use this link to save 15% on all UnoCasa products. Discount applied at checkout.
- Tongs: These silicone tipped kitchen tongs make moving the lamb shanks around super easy.
- OXO Peeler Set: To help easily peel the tomatoes
What Is A Lamb & Apricot Tagine
One of the best tagine dishes we ate while traveling in Morocco was a lamb and apricot tagine. A tagine is a cooking vessel used to cook the most famous of Morrocan dishes. A tagine dish includes all of the different types of meals that can be cooked and served inside a tagine.
We learned how to use a tagine when traveling in Morocco and even toured a facility where they make tagines. We learned how they make them, fire them, and even paint them. It made us want to learn how to cook Moroccan food at home.
What Kind Of Lamb For This Moroccan Lamb Tagine Recipe
A tagine refers to both the dish and the pot that it cooks in. There are so many types of tagine cooked in Morocco – lamb, chicken, vegetable, and even fish. They can include olives and lemon or chickpeas and tomatoes.
When it comes to lamb, Moroccan lamb tagine can include ground lamb and other types of lamb, including shanks. I like using a lamb shank in a tagine because it is a great way to cook this type of meat. A shank is the shin of the lamb, so there is tasty meat along with the bone. By cooking the lamb on the bone, there is added flavor in the dish.
Check out some of our other Moroccan recipes:
Ingredients For This Lamb Shanks Tagine Recipe
In addition to the lamb shanks, the key to this lamb tagine recipe are the spices. In addition to salt and black pepper, the tagine is seasoned with ground cumin, paprika, turmeric, and cinnamon. These are all classic Moroccan spices that add the perfect amount of sweet and savory to a recipe for lamb tagine.
These spices, plus the dried apricots add a good amount of sweetness, which also offsets the earthiness and sometimes gamey flavor of a lamb shank. I also like to add a cinnamon stick in addition to the ground cinnamon, but if you don’t have a cinnamon stick at home, this is optional.
A touch of orange zest also helps to add some sweetness and acidity to the dish.
Vegetables For A Moroccan Tagine With Lamb Shank
All of these spices are cooked in olive oil, along with a yellow onion, garlic, and fresh tomatoes. Any sort of tomatoes work, including plum tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes. The tomatoes need to be peeled so there are no yucky tomato peels in the sauce. Then, they should be diced to blend into the sauce.
The only other vegetable in this Moroccan lamb shanks tagine is carrots. They should be cut in quarters so that they remain whole when serving in the end. If they are cut too small, they tend to get too mushy when cooking. This is because the carrots take less time to cook than the lamb shank.
The Lamb Shanks And Sauce
The lamb shanks are prepared by sprinkling with salt and pepper and giving them a good dusting of flour. The flour helps to brown the lamb shanks in the tagine, but also gives the sauce a slight thickness as it cooks. All of these ingredients are cooked in a good dose of beef broth, which provides the base for the sauce. And, the broth helps the lamb shanks to almost steam within the lid of the tagine.
How To Make Apricot Lamb Tagine
The lamb shank tagine will be cooked both on the stovetop and in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325F or 160C. Ensure you have room in the oven for the tagine and the lid. You may need to remove a rack from the top to make room for the tagine on the bottom rack.
Peel the tomato skins using a tomato peeler. Slice the tomatoes in half and dice. Place the tomatoes to the side.
Preparing The Lamb Shanks
Sprinkle the lamb shanks on both sides with salt and pepper. Dust the shanks in flour lightly, shaking the excess flour from the shanks.
Place the tagine on the stove over medium-high heat. Use a heat diffuser if you are using an electric stovetop. Allow the tagine to warm for 3-5 minutes.
Add one tablespoon of olive oil (reserving the rest of later) and allow the oil to warm for 2-3 minutes. Once the olive oil is hot, add the lamb shanks two at a time. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides, about 3-5 minutes in total for each pair. Use silicone kitchen tongs to flip the shanks and move them around. Remove the shanks from the tagine and place them to the side.
Cooking The Lamb Shank Tagine Recipe – Stovetop
Reduce the heat to low under the tagine. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is warm, saute the onions for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to soften and yellow.
Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, ground cinnamon, and cinnamon stick. Add the tomatoes and beef stock and stir well, scraping any bits of meat and spices from the bottom of the tagine with the tongs or a wooden spoon.
Place the cover on the tagine and allow the tomatoes to cook down for about 5-7 minutes. This prepares the sauce of the tagine.
Cooking The Lamb Shank Tagine – Oven
Carefully remove the tagine lid away from the face to release the steam. Place the lamb shanks into the tagine and replace the top of the tagine.
Place the entire tagine in the oven for 60 minutes. When you cook lamb in a tagine, steam builds up, tenderizing the meat. After 60 minutes, carefully remove the lid and turn the shanks over with kitchen tongs. Add the carrots, apricots, and orange zest. Replace the lid and cook for another 60 minutes.
Once ready and after about two hours of cooking, remove the lid of the tagine away from the face to release the steam. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving if you can find it.
Serve this recipe for Moroccan lamb tagine with fresh coriander, crusty bread, and a side of couscous. For a little extra heat, serve with harissa.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 lamb shanks
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 2-3 cups beef broth
- 1-2 medium-sized carrots, cut in quarters
- 10-12 apricots, diced
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Fresh coriander for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325F or 160C
- Peel the tomato skins using a tomato peeler. Slice tomatoes in half and dice them. Place them to the side.
- Sprinkle the lamb shanks on both sides with salt and pepper. Dust the shanks in flour lightly, shaking the excess flour from the shanks.
- Place the tagine on the stove over medium-high heat. Use a heat diffuser if using an electric stovetop. Allow the tagine to warm for 3-5 minutes.
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil and allow the oil to warm for 2-3 minutes.
- Once the olive oil is hot, add the lamb shanks two at a time. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides, about 3-5 minutes in total for each pair.
- Remove the shanks from the tagine and place them to the side. Reduce the heat to low. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
- Once warm, saute the onion for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to soften and yellow.
- Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, ground cinnamon, and cinnamon stick.
- Add the tomatoes and beef stock and stir well, scraping any bits of meat and spices from the bottom of the tagine. with a wooden spoon or kitchen tongs
- Place the cover on the tagine and allow the tomatoes to cook down for about 5-7 minutes.
- Carefully remove the lid away from the face to release the steam. Place the lamb shanks into the tagine and replace the top of the tagine.
- Place in the oven for 60 minutes.
- After 60 minutes, turn the shanks over. Add the carrots, apricots, and orange zest. Replace the lid and cook for another 60 minutes.
- Once ready and after about two hours of cooking, remove the lid of the tagine away from the face to release the steam.
- Remove the cinnamon stick before serving if you can find it. Serve with fresh coriander, crusty bread, and a side of couscous.
If you're not familiar with how to cook a tagine recipe, check out the more detailed instructions in the recipe above.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 1599mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 14gProtein: 32g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
FAQs – Moroccan Lamb Shank Tagine
In Morocco and throughout North Africa, lamb tagine is traditionally eaten with couscous. Couscous is a pasta made of semolina flour from durum wheat. It is perfect for soaking up broth and gravies.
Lamb tagines are often made using harissa, a spicy North African chili paste. If you don’t like spicy food, one way to make a lamb tagine less spicy is to reduce the amount of harissa. You can also increase the amount of liquids you are using.