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Lamb Tajine


A tajine is a North African dish that takes its name from the conical-shaped pot in which it cooks. A way of cooking tougher cuts of meat, tajines slow cook meat with moist heat, developing flavours and softening the meat.


Photo: Dennis Evans

Lamb Tajine Photo: Dennis Evans

Recipe courtesy of Dennis Johnston, Fid Resto


  • 3 lbs (1.3 kgs) lamb, preferably boned shoulder
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) olive oil
  • 2 1/2  cups (625 ml) onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) kalamata olives
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) ground cumin
  • a fist full chopped flat parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: 7 small preserved lemons,* sliced into pieces

* Preserved lemons are available in Mideastern groceries. They add a salty and sour kick, especially for slow-stewing dishes. You can also make your own (see the story “Zest for Life” from our Winter 2010 issue). The recipe here calls for bottled preserved lemons that are about half the size of conventional lemons.


  1. Heat a tajine or a large pot with the olive oil.
  2. Slice the lamb into 4-cm (1.5-inch) chunks and season with salt and pepper. Once pot is hot, sear pieces of the lamb a few at a time and reserve on the side.
  3. Add garlic to the pot, cooking until it becomes fragrant. Turn down the heat, add onions and ginger, cooking until onions are translucent.
  4. Add the seared lamb and enough water to moisten everything. The water should not cover everything but the pot should not simmer dry.
  5. Add the olives, clove, saffron and cumin. Cover the pot, turn down the heat and let the pot simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.
  6. To see if it’s ready, remove one piece of lamb and see if it is cooked. If still a bit tough, keep cooking until it is tender.
  7. Add parsley when serving. Serve with steamed rice or couscous.

This recipe was featured in the article Luscious Lamb.

East Coast Living