Spicy Moroccan Lamb Leg Tagine with Apricots

This Moroccan leg of lamb tagine recipe is cooked in a classic tagine pot and is not as difficult as it sounds. It is a lamb and apricot tagine that balances the earthiness of lamb with the sweetness of apricots in a classic Moroccan dish.

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Moroccan traditional recipe | tagine pot

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Tools for this tagine recipe:

Moroccan leg of lamb tagine with apricots

What is a lamb and apricot tagine?

One of the best tagine dishes we ate while traveling in Morocco was a lamb and apricot tagine. A tagine is a kitchen container used to cook the most famous Moroccan dishes. A tagine plate includes all the different types of food that can be cooked and served inside a tagine.

We learned how to use a tagine when traveling through Morocco and even toured a facility where they make tagines. We learned how they make them, burn them and even paint them. It made us want to learn how to cook Moroccan food at home.

We recommend the Tagine Pot from Uno Casa. learn more here and save 15%. Or check out our reviews of the best tagines to cook at home for more information.

What kind of lamb for this Moroccan lamb tagine recipe

serving traditional lamb tagine recipes

A tagine refers to both the dish and the pot in which it is cooked. There are so many types of tagine cooked in Morocco: lamb, chicken, vegetables, and even fish. They can include olives and lemon or chickpeas and tomatoes.

When it comes to lamb, the Moroccan lamb tagine can include ground lamb and other types of lamb, including legs. I like to use leg of lamb in a tagine because it is a great way to cook this type of meat. A leg is the shin of the lamb, so there is tasty meat along with the bone. Cooking lamb on the bone adds flavor to the dish.

Take a look at some of our other Moroccan recipes:

Moroccan Kefta Tagine – Meatballs with Egg

Spicy Roasted Harissa Cauliflower

Ingredients for this leg of lamb tagine recipe

Lamb and apricot tagine

In addition to the legs of lamb, the key to this lamb tagine recipe is 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 lamb tagine recipe.

These spices, plus the dried apricots, add a good amount of sweetness, which also offsets the earthiness and sometimes game flavor of a leg of lamb. 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 add some sweetness and tartness to the dish.

Vegetables for a Moroccan Tagine with Leg of Lamb

lamb tagine with carrots

All of these spices are cooked in olive oil, along with a yellow onion, garlic and fresh tomatoes. Any type of tomato works, including plum tomatoes or steak tomatoes. Tomatoes need to be peeled so there are no yucky tomato skins in the sauce. Then, they should be cut into cubes to mix with the sauce.

The only other vegetable in this Moroccan leg of lamb tagine is carrots. They should be cut into quarters so that they remain whole when served. If they are cut too small, they tend to get too soft when cooked. This is because carrots take less time to cook than leg of lamb.

Leg of Lamb and Sauce

cooking with leg of lamb

Lamb shanks are prepared by sprinkling with salt and pepper and dusting well with flour. The flour helps brown the lamb legs in the tagine, but it also gives the sauce a bit of thickness as it cooks. All these ingredients are cooked in a good dose of beef broth, which is the base of the sauce. And the broth helps the lamb legs almost get moist inside the tagine lid.

How to make lamb tagine with apricot

The leg of lamb tagine will be cooked both on the stovetop and in the oven. Preheat oven to 325F or 160C. Make sure 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 skin from the tomatoes with a tomato peeler. Cut the tomatoes in half and dice. Set the tomatoes aside.

Preparing the Legs of Lamb

brown a leg of lamb in a tagine

Sprinkle the lamb legs on both sides with salt and pepper. Dust legs lightly with flour, shaking excess flour off legs.

Place the tagine on the stove over medium-high heat. Use a heat diffuser if you are using an electric stove. Let the tagine heat up for 3-5 minutes.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil (reserving the rest for later) and let the oil heat up for 2-3 minutes. Once the olive oil is hot, add the lamb legs two at a time. Brown the lamb legs on all sides, about 3-5 minutes total for each pair. Use silicone kitchen tongs to flip the legs over and move them around. Remove the legs from the tagine and set them aside.

Cook Leg of Lamb Tagine Recipe – Stove Top

Reduce heat to low under tagine. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is warm, sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes or until they start to soften and turn yellow.

Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, ground cinnamon, and cinnamon stick. Add the tomatoes and beef broth and stir well, scraping up any bits of meat and spices from the bottom of the tagine with tongs or a wooden spoon.

Put the lid on the tagine and let the tomatoes cook for about 5-7 minutes. This prepares the tagine sauce.

Cooking the Leg of Lamb Tagine – Oven

Legs of lamb tagine

Carefully remove the lid of the tagine from the face to release the steam. Place the lamb legs in 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 and tenderizes the meat. After 60 minutes, carefully remove the lid and flip the legs over with kitchen tongs. Add 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 tagine lid from the face to release the steam. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving if you can find it.

Serve this Moroccan lamb tagine recipe with fresh coriander, crusty bread and a side of couscous. For a little more heat, serve with harissa.

preparation time
15 minutes

Time to cook
2 hours 30 minutes

Total Time
2 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 legs of lamb

  • Salt and pepper to season

  • ¼ cup of flour

  • 1 small onion, sliced

  • 3-4 garlic cloves, 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 carrots, cut into quarters

  • 10-12 apricots, diced

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

  • fresh coriander to decorate

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F or 160C
  2. Peel the skin from the tomatoes with a tomato peeler. Cut the tomatoes in half and chop them. Set them aside.
  3. Sprinkle the lamb legs on both sides with salt and pepper. Dust legs lightly with flour, shaking excess flour off legs.
  4. Place the tagine on the stove over medium-high heat. Use a heat diffuser if you use an electric stove. Let the tagine heat up for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and let the oil heat up for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Once the olive oil is hot, add the lamb legs two at a time. Brown the lamb legs on all sides, about 3-5 minutes total for each pair.
  7. Remove the legs from the tagine and set them aside. Reduce heat to a minimum. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  8. Once hot, sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes or until it begins to soften and turn yellow.
  9. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, ground cinnamon, and cinnamon stick.
  10. Add the tomatoes and beef broth and stir well, scraping up any bits of meat and spices from the bottom of the tagine. with a wooden spoon or kitchen tongs
  11. Put the lid on the tagine and let the tomatoes cook for about 5-7 minutes.
  12. Carefully remove the face cap to release steam. Place the lamb legs in the tagine and replace the top of the tagine.
  13. Bake for 60 minutes.
  14. After 60 minutes, turn the legs over. Add carrots, apricots, and orange zest. Replace the lid and cook for another 60 minutes.
  15. Once ready and after about two hours of cooking, remove the tagine lid from the face to release the steam.
  16. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving if you can find it. Serve with fresh coriander, crusty bread and a side of couscous.

grades

If you are not familiar with how to cook a tagine recipe, please refer to the more detailed instructions in the recipe above.

Nutritional information:

Yield:

4

Portion size:

1

Amount per proportion:
Calories: 423Total fat: 20gSaturated fat: 6gTrans fat: 0gUnsaturated fat: 12gCholesterol: 90 milligramsSodium: 1599mgcarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 14gProtein: 32g

This nutritional data is provided by a third party source and should not be relied upon if you are following a strict diet.

Did you make this recipe?

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Frequently asked questions – Moroccan leg of lamb tagine

What do you eat with lamb tagine?

In Morocco and throughout North Africa, lamb tagine is traditionally eaten with couscous. Couscous is a pasta made from durum wheat semolina flour. It is perfect for soaking up broth and sauces.

How to make a lamb tagine less spicy?

Lamb tagines are often prepared with harissa, a spicy chili paste from North Africa. 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 fluids you are using.

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