Moroccan Meat and Potato Tagine

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Lamb and Potato Tagine. Photo © Christine Benlafquih
  • 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (11)

This easy tagine recipe is a popular family meal in Morocco; three cooking methods are offered so you can choose which is best for you. The meat can be beef, lamb or goat meat, and carrots or other veggies can be added to the recipe. Use as much preserved lemon as you like – the more lemon, the tangier the dish. Preserved lemons will also add saltiness, so adjust seasoning accordingly.

Moroccans serve tagine directly from the tagine in which it was cooked. Moroccan bread is traditionally used as a utensil to scoop everything up, and harrisa can be offered as a condiment.

What You'll Need

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced (for tagine), chopped (for pot or pressure cooker)
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs. (700 g.) potatoes, peeled and sliced (for tagine), cut into wedges (for pot or pressure cooker)
  • 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg.) lamb, beef or goat meat
  • 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled (optional)
  • Small handful of parsley or cilantro sprigs, tied into a bouquet (for tagine), chopped (for pot or pressure cooker)
  • Large handful of red or green olives
  • 1/2 or 1 whole preserved lemon, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups water (for tagine), 3 cups (for pot or pressure cooker)

How to Make It

Clay or Ceramic Tagine Method

  1. Pour the olive oil into the base of a tagine; arrange the onion slices across the bottom and distribute the garlic on top. Add the potato slices (you can arrange them neatly if you like) and place the meat on top of the potatoes in the center.
  2. Sprinkle the spices as evenly as possible over the meat and potatoes. Add the parsley bouquet, olives, preserved lemon and about 1 1/2 cups of water.
  1. 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 is very tender and can be pulled apart with your fingers.

Conventional Pot or Pressure Cooker Method

  1. Chop the onion rather than slicing it. Cut the potatoes into wedges rather than slices. Chop the parsley or cilantro.
  2. Mix the meat with onion, garlic, parsley, spices and olive oil in a large pot or pressure cooker. Brown the meat, uncovered, over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add 3 cups of water and cover. If using a conventional pot, simmer the meat for about 1 1/2 hours; if using a pressure cooker, cook the meat with pressure for about 35 minutes, or a little longer if using lamb or goat meat.
  4. Add the potatoes, olives and preserved lemon, adding water if necessary so that the broth almost reaches the top of the potatoes. Partially cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is reduced until thick. Toward the end of the cooking, taste for salt and adjust the seasoning if necessary.