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Lamb tagine with pumpkin, preserved lemon and olives

Lamb tagine with pumpkin, preserved lemon and olives

Prep time 30 mins

Cook 3 hours



Warming spices and slow cooked tagines are the perfect winter dish for comfort cooking. There are many variations of the tagine and of course it is all about the actual vessel you cook the braised dish in. Most of us have a casserole and an oven which will suffice for cooking.  Some tagines are more fragrant and sweet with added fruit or honey, some with nuts, some meat and some vegetable. The recipe of slow-cooked lamb, preserved lemon and olives is loosely based on Paula Wolfert’s meat tagine with carrots and celery from the book The Food of Morocco, that uses a spice mix called La Kama that goes well with lamb and winter tagines, like a Moroccan-ish version of Quatre Epices using ginger, turmeric, white pepper and cinnamon. We prefer to use whole cinnamon quills to flavour dishes like this, as they are more subtle and ground cinnamon if overused, ground cinnamon can be a bit too overpowering.

½ boneless lamb shoulder, cut into large pieces, about 8cm each

½ butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into 8cm pieces (or use another winter squash of your choice)

Juice of ½ lemon, or more to serve

12 green olives

1 preserved lemon rind, pith removed and rind thinly sliced

Couscous, to serve


4 small garlic cloves, peeled

Large handful of coriander leaves and tender stalks

1 tbsp coriander seeds, dry-roasted and finely ground

3 tsp turmeric

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp white pepper

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

  1. For the marinade, pound garlic and coriander with a large pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle until a coarse paste. Add spices and pound until a smooth paste. Stir through olive oil, then rub all over lamb and marinate overnight. Marinating meat allows time for the flavour to be absorbed into the meat, giving you a much more beautiful tasting dish. You can skip this if desired.

  2. The next day, preheat oven to 150°C. Place lamb into a casserole to fit snug, or a tagine if you have one. Bring to a simmer over a high heat on the stove, then transfer to oven covered with a lid and braise for 1 hour.

  3. Meanwhile, cut up your pumpkin and then scatter over the lamb, cover and contribute to cook until lamb and pumpkin are tender. If the pumpkin softens too quickly, you can set that aside while the lamb continues to cook until it is very tender (about another 2 hours in total).

  4. Scatter olives, lemon juice and preserved lemons over lamb and stir through, then serve lamb and pumpkin with couscous and some extra coriander on top of you like.



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