Moroccan Lamb and Cabbage Tagine Recipe

Moroccan lamb and cabbage tagine
Moroccan Tagine with Cabbage. Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    85 mins
Ratings

Think of a Moroccan tagine, and cabbage is not likely to come to mind as your vegetable of choice. Nonetheless, I urge you to try this surprisingly tasty dish.This Moroccan recipe, taught to me by my mother-in-law, features classic seasoning with ginger, saffron and a little bit of paprika and cumin. Preserved lemons and olives add classic tangy flavor to a sauce that begs to be dipped into with bread. Beef or goat meat may be substituted for the lamb.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 lb. lamb or beef, cut into 2" to 3" pieces
  • 1 tomato, grated
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (or pinch of Moroccan yellow colorant)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • -------------------------------------
  • 1 head of cabbage, chopped into 1/2" wide strips
  • 1 preserved lemon, quartered and seeds removed
  • 1 large handful of red olives
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

How to Make It

  1. Put the meat, grated tomato, onions, garlic, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, and spices into a pressure cooker or pot. Stir to mix well.
  2. Cook over medium to medium-high heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring several times to turn the meat and brown it on all sides.
  3. Add about three cups of water, cover the pressure cooker or pot, and increase the heat to high. If using a pressure cooker: When pressure has been achieved, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 35 minutes. If using a pot: When the liquids are boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Check occasionally to be sure there are still liquids.
  1. When the meat has cooked, add the chopped cabbage, preserved lemon, olives and lemon juice. If necessary, add enough water to cover the cabbage. Rapidly simmer the cabbage, partially covered, about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and the sauce is reduced. The sauce will be a bit thinner than for other tagines.
  2. Serve with Moroccan bread for scooping up the meat and vegetables.

Tips for Preparing in a Tagine

  • There is no need to brown the meat. Place the first set of ingredients in the base of a tagine and stir to combine. Arrange the meat, bone side down, in the middle.
  • Add the cabbage all around and garnish with the preserved lemon and olives.
  • Add about 3 cups of water and place the tagine on a diffuser over medium heat. Cover and allow the liquids to come to a simmer.
  • Continue cooking at a simmer for three hours or longer, or until all ingredients are tender and the sauce is reduced. Toward the end of cooking keep an eye on the level of liquids, adding a little more water if you feel it's necessary to avoid scorching the meat.
  • Serve directly from the tagine.

Note: The cooking time indicated is for a pressure cooker. Allow double the time if using a pot or Dutch oven. The dish may also be prepared in clay or ceramic tagine; see the tips below and allow up to four hours cooking time.