Lemon Lamb Tagine

Slow-Braised Berber Stew


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    2 to 4

Appears in

Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

Well Fed 2

By Melissa Joulwan

Published 2013

  • About

“Tagine” is both the name of the dish and the special earthenware pot in which it’s slow cooked. Found primarily in Morocco, a tagine is a savory combination of meat, vegetables, aromatic spices, and, sometimes, dried fruit. Unlike curries and gravy-ish stews, a tagine produces just enough broth to braise the ingredients and flavor the bed of (cauliflower) rice on which it’s served. This recipe is adapted to work on the stovetop in a standard soup pot, but if you’re fortunate enough to own a cone-shaped cooking tagine, these instructions will work for that, too.


  • 1 medium lemon
  • ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove plus 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or cayenne pepper)
  • teaspoon powdered ginger
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ pound lamb stew meat
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
  • ½ large onion, cut into ½-inch thick half-moons
  • ½ pound carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick rounds
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¾ pound zucchini, cut into ½-inch thick half-moons
  • ¼ large head cabbage, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup green olives
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)



Remove all the peel from the lemon with a vegetable peeler and cut it into 2-inch long strips. Mince one strip and place in a small bowl, along with the olive oil and 1 clove minced garlic. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into another small bowl and set aside. Save the remaining strips of peel for later.

In another small bowl (last one!), use a fork to mix 2 cloves of the minced garlic with the paprika, cumin, Aleppo pepper, ginger, and cinnamon. Save for later.

Pat the lamb dry with paper towels and sprinkle heartily with salt and pepper. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium-high, then add the meat in batches and sear on all sides. With tongs, remove the browned pieces to a bowl to catch their juice. Repeat with the remaining cubes.

Add the onion and reserved lemon peel to the pot, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic-spice blend and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the carrots and broth, scraping up any brown bits in the bottom of the pot. Return the lamb and accumulated juices to the pot and tuck the meat into the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, 25 minutes.

Add the zucchini and cabbage to the pot, piling it on top of the meat. Cover and cook an additional 45 minutes, until meat and vegetables are tender. Add the olives to the pot and stir to combine all the ingredients. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the reserved lemon juice, garlic-infused olive oil, and cilantro. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.