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Moroccan Saffron Lamb Recipe



Moroccan Saffron Lamb

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This Moroccan recipe uses mild seasoning to allow the natural flavors of lamb and fragrant saffron to dominate the dish. Although our family is most likely to prepare Lamb with Saffron in the days following Eid Al-Adha, this dish can be served any time of the year.

Cuts from the neck, shoulder or shanks work well in this recipe, but you can also use meat from the more-tender leg, loin or ribs. Increase the cooking time for larger or tougher cuts of meat.

The time indicated is for a pressure cooker. If using a Dutch oven or stock pot, allow for at least double the cooking time.

Serve 4.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 kg. (about 3.3 lb.) lamb, cut into 3" or 4" pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (or 1/8 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant)
  • 1/2 teasooon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, tied into a bouquet


Trim excess fat from the lamb, and then mix the meat with the garlic and spices in a pressure cooker or Dutch oven. Add the butter and oil, and cook over medium heat, uncovered, for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring to lightly brown the meat. Don't allow the butter to burn.

Add the cilantro and about 3 cups of water – enough to come up the sides of the meat but not enough to fully cover it. Cover the pot, and increase the heat to high.

If using a pressure cooker: When pressure has been achieved, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for about 50 minutes. Remove from the heat, and check the meat to see if it's tender and can be pulled from the bone. If more cooking is needed, add a little water if necessary, and cook with pressure for another 10 minutes. When the lamb tests done, leave the pot uncovered and reduce the liquids to a very thick sauce which covers the bottom of the pot.

If using a Dutch oven: When the liquids are boiling, reduce the heat to medium and continue simmering, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the lamb is tender and can be pulled from the bone. Check the level of water occasionally, adding water if needed to avoid scorching. When the lamb tests done, leave the pot uncovered and reduce the liquids to a very thick sauce which covers the bottom of the pot.

To serve: Discard the cilantro. If desired, transfer the meat to an oven-proof dish and brown lightly under a broiler to color the meat. Place the meat on a platter or preheated serving tagine, and add the sauce. Serve with bread.

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