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Tagine of Lamb and Olives with Argan Oil - Moroccan Tagine Recipe

User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)



Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Olives and Argan Oil

Photo © Christine Benlafquih

This Moroccan tagine recipe calls for argan oil, a light, nutty oil which is exclusive to Morocco. While the argan oil imparts a unique flavor, olive oil or walnut oil can also be used. Beef or goat meat may be substituted for the lamb.

Tagine of Lamb and Olives is best prepared in a traditional Moroccan tagine (use a diffuser if cooking stovetop), but good results can be achieved by slow-cooking in a heavy-bottomed pot. Avoid high heat when cooking with argan or walnut oil.

Scoop up the tagine with Moroccan bread, and try serving it with Belgian French Fries heaped on top.

Serves four.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes


  • 2 lbs. (about 1 kg) lamb, cut into 2" to 3" pieces
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped medium
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup argan oil
  • small hanful of cilantro sprigs, tied together
  • 1/2 cup green olives with pits
  • 1 cup water


Layer the sliced onions on the bottom of a tagine. In a bowl, mix the meat with the chopped onion and spices, and add the mixture to the tagine along with the water, argan oil and olives. Place the cilantro bouquet on top of the meat.

Cover the tagine, and place it on a diffuser over medium-low heat. It will take some time for the tagine to reach a simmer, but once it does, leave the tagine undisturbed for about three hours, using the lowest heat necessary to maintain the simmer.

There's no need to open the tagine unless you smell something burning. In that case, the heat was likely too high and a little water will need to be added to prevent scorching.

After the tagine has cooked for three hours, check on the meat. It should be very tender and easy to break apart with your fingers. If necessary, cook longer. When the meat is tender, reduce any excess liquid, and serve.

It's Moroccan tradition to serve the dish directly from the tagine in which it was cooked. It's best scooped up with crusty bread, with each person eating from his own side of the dish.

User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
Great--But Do You Need a Tagine to Make Tagine?, Member obillo

Even the cheapest Moroccan ones are pretty dear at $40 or so, and the All-Clad and Le Creusets are obscene! Surely any pot of appropriate size with a tight lid will do? If clay is critical, why not use a romertopf? A tagine is basically a flowerpot with a drip saucer, and I can get that at any garden store, no? The argan oil is something else--a distinctive taste that ought to be tried at least once despite the expense. If substituting olive oil, I'd rrecommend the kind labeled ""Pure Olive Oil""--that's the No. 2 grade, one step down from Extra Virgin, which is probably too delicate.

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