Lamb tagine with olives and preserved lemon recipe


Tagines are one of the most unique and distinct aspects of North African cuisine, and this recipe also includes another unique aspect in its use of salt-preserved lemons. A tagine is the name of a conical-shaped earthenware container that is traditionally used to make this type of stew in North Africa. If a tagine is available, use it to make this dish (depending on its size, you may need to scale the recipe to fit) they lend a certain quality to these stews that cannot be replicated in metal pans. The traditional way to cook this stew is by placing it in the embers of a settling fire and then tending to provide even heat as it cooks, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish.

  • Yield: 12 portion (8 ounces/portion)


  • 2 oz Olive Oil
  • 4 lbs Lamb Stew Meat, cut into 1-inch cubes and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 lbs Yellow Onions, diced medium
  • 2 tsp Saffron
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 qts Water
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Oregano, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Parsley, minced (about ½ bunch)
  • 4 oz Preserved Lemon, seeds removed and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 6 oz Pitted Green Olives
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Fresh Oregano, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, minced
  • Salt, to taste
How to Make It
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over a medium-high flame, and sear seasoned lamb cubes until they are well caramelized on all sides (taking care not to burn fronds in the pan).
  2. Add the onions to the pan, lower the heat, and sweat until onions become soft and translucent.
  3. Add saffron, black pepper, and salt to the pan, and continue to cook over a higher flame to bring out the flavors of the spices (about 2–3 minutes).
  4. Add the water to the pan, and bring the mixture to a simmer over a medium flame; add oregano and parsley, and simmer uncovered for 1 hour to develop flavor.
  5. Add the preserved lemon and olives, and continue to simmer for 15–20 minutes.
  6. Finish with extra virgin olive oil, fresh oregano, and parsley, and season with salt.

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