Moroccan Lamb or Beef Tagine with Carrots, Olives and Preserved Lemon

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Moroccan Beef Tagine with Carrots, Olives and Preserved Lemons. Photo © Christine Benlafquih
  • 85 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 70 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Ratings (5)

This easy Moroccan recipe was taught to me by my mother-in-law, who served it as a family meal with Moroccan bread for scooping everything up. Olives and preserved lemons impart a unique, tangy flavor. If you like things spicy, add a little cayenne pepper or Ras el Hanout to the Moroccan seasoning of ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Harissa can be offered as a condiment on the side.

Use beef, lamb or goat meat cut into 3" pieces.

Cooking time is for a pressure cooker. Allow double this time if preparing in a conventional pot, and triple this time if cooking in a clay or ceramic tagine.

Serves 4 to 6.

What You'll Need

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. (500 to 700g) beef, lamb or goat meat
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ras el Hanout (optional)
  • cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ----------------------------------------------------
  • 2 lbs. (1 kg) carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup red or green olives
  • 1 preserved lemon, cut into quarters and seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon butter

How to Make It

Pressure Cooker Method

Mix the meat with onion, garlic, cilantro or parsley, spices and olive oil in a pressure cooker. Brown the meat, uncovered, over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 cups of water, cover, and cook the meat with pressure for 25 minutes if using beef, and about 35 minutes if using lamb or goat meat.

Add the carrots, adding water if necessary so that the broth almost reaches the top of the carrots.

Cover and cook with pressure for about 10 minutes. Add the olives, preserved lemon and the teaspoon of butter, and reduce the sauce until it is quite thick.

Conventional Pot Method

Mix the meat with onion, garlic, cilantro or parsley, spices and olive oil in a Dutch oven or pot. Brown the meat, uncovered, over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 cups of water, cover, and simmer the meat for about 1 hour if using beef, and about 1 1/2 hours if using lamb or goat meat. Occasionally check on the level of the broth, and add more water if necessary during the cooking.

Add the carrots and enough water so that the broth almost reaches the top of the carrots. Cover and simmer the carrots until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add the olives, preserved lemon and the teaspoon of butter, and continue simmering, uncovered, to reduce the sauce until it is quite thick.

Clay or Ceramic Tagine Method

Slice the onion instead of chopping it, and tie the parsley or cilantro into a bouquet instead of chopping it. Omit the butter.

Pour about half of the olive oil into the base of a tagine. Distribute the onions over the bottom and then arrange the carrots on top of the onions.

In a bowl, mix the meat with the garlic and spices. Place the meat in the middle of the tagine, bone or fatty sides down. Swirl 1 cup of water in the bowl to rinse the spices, and then add this water and the remaining olive oil to the tagine.

Top the meat with the parsley bouquet and distribute the olives and preserved lemon wedges over the meat and carrots.

Cover the tagine and place on a diffuser over medium-low to medium heat and allow the tagine to reach a simmer. This can take some time so be patient. Once a simmer is achieved, reduce the heat to the lowest temperature necessary to maintain the simmer, and cook for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat and carrots are very tender.