Lamb Tagine with Apricots

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

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  • 225 g/8 oz dried apricots
  • 5 cm/2 in piece of root ginger
  • 450 g/1 lb red onions (or Spanish if unavailable)
  • 2 red chillies
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • handful of coriander leaves
  • 4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1.35 kg/3 lb lamb neck fillet
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1.75 litres/3 pt chicken stock
  • 300 ml/½ pt yogurt, stabilized
  • salt and pepper



Pour boiling water over the apricots and leave to soak for 2 hours or preferably overnight.

Peel and julienne the ginger. Peel and slice the onion. Destalk, deseed and finely chop the chillies. Destalk and chop the parsley and coriander leaves.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry heavy pan over a low heat. Grind to a powder.

Preheat a ridged grill pan until very hot.

Butterfly the lamb neck fillet: cut from the side down the length of the fillet and almost all the way through, so it folds open. Cut it into rectangles about the size of a postcard. Brush with oil. Season with salt and pepper.


Sear the pieces of lamb on both sides twice to seal and make a neat quadrillage. Reserve.

Fry the onions in the oil in a heavy casserole until translucent.

Stir in the chillies, paprika and cumin. Fry for 2 minutes, then add the lamb, apricots, cinnamon stick and lime leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Lower to a bare simmer, cover and cook for about 1 hour until the lamb is tender.

Remove the cinnamon stick and lime leaves and discard. Stir in the stabilized yogurt, and all but a little of the parsley and coriander leaves for garnish. Taste and adjust the seasoning.


Serve on soup plates or in large bowls, with a mound of couscous or rice and the reserved parsley and coriander leaves scattered over.

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