Persian lamb tagine

Persian lamb tagine

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(24 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins

More effort

Serves 8 - 10
This warming stew is spiced with cinnamon and cumin, and sweetened with apricots and dates - perfect with fluffy couscous

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per serving (10)

  • kcal667
  • fat39g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs37g
  • sugars31g
  • fibre7g
  • protein39g
  • salt0.3g
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  • 2kg lamb neck fillets
  • 5 tbsp mild olive oil or sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 3 medium onions, cut into thin wedges



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • large pinch of saffron



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 preserved lemons (from a jar), drained and cut into thin wedges
  • 300g ready-to-eat dried apricot
  • 250g ready-to-eat dried pitted dates



    Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits - it's thought that they were a staple part of…

  • 100g shelled pistachios
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • 25g cornflour
  • small bunch coriander, leaves roughly chopped
  • cooked couscous or basmati rice, to serve



    Consisting of many tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat, couscous has become a…


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Trim the lamb of any hard fat, cut into chunks and season all over. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the lamb in 3-4 batches over a high heat for 1-2 mins until lightly coloured. Add 1 tbsp more oil between each batch and transfer to a bowl each time a batch is browned.

  2. Heat the remaining oil in the same dish over a medium heat and fry the onions for 5 mins or until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, 1 tsp ground black pepper and 1 tsp flaked sea salt. Cook for 1 min, stirring. Return the lamb to the dish and add 1.5 litres of water, the saffron, cinnamon and lemons. Bring to a simmer, stirring a few times. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hr.

  3. Carefully remove the dish from the oven and stir in the apricots, dates and half the pistachios, then cover once more and return to the oven. Cook for a further 30 mins or until the lamb is very tender.

  4. Transfer the dish to the hob and adjust the seasoning to taste. Mix the cornflour with the rosewater and 3 tbsp cold water, then stir into the tagine. Cook over a medium heat for 1-2 mins or until the sauce thickens. (Thickening the sauce with cornflour isn’t traditional but helps the tagine to freeze more successfully.) When ready to serve, roughly chop the remaining nuts and sprinkle over the top. Garnish with coriander and serve with couscous or rice.

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Comments, questions and tips

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31st Dec, 2019
This was excellent, well worth cooking it the day before you need it for the flavours to develop. I reduced the amount of fruit added as per a previous comment, and was pleased I had, it would have been overpoweringly sweet. Also I didn't bother with the rosewater (well, actually I forgot!) but I don't think it suffered at all for the omission. I used lamb shoulder because I couldn't get any neck, and trimmed all the fat off. Delicious.
Chris Poole's picture
Chris Poole
21st Nov, 2019
The lamb tagine recipe is very good, but you suggest serving it with couscous or rice. My coeliac friend for whom I am making it, tells me that couscous is not suitable for coeliacs. Since I Googled dinner party recipes for coeliacs I'm surprised that it is included in your recipe. Roseyfish
31st Dec, 2018
Fabulous! I did use the recipe as stated but with half the amount of lamb and it was perfect. I chopped the apricots and dates in half and would use more of the apricots and lemons next time. I was a bit scared to use the rosewater ......Must make this again very soon!
Gee Eff
20th Mar, 2016
Couscous is not gluten free. It is made from semolina which is the coarse purified wheat middlings of durum wheat used in making pasta, breakfast cereals, puddings, and couscous. Gluten free couscous is available, but this recipe should be amended to ensure that any couscous you use does not contain gluten.
22nd Nov, 2015
This recipe is way too sweet, I think you need to make sure you use lots of lamb to balance it out. Also the rose water was way too overpowering but this may have been because I tried to reduce the amount of lamb to serve only 4 people (well, 2 greedy people!) rather than 8 as the recipe says. The apricots would be better chopped too. There are much better recipes out there in my view
5th Nov, 2015
This is my absolute favourite recipe on good food and my go-to recipe for dinner parties. I use Lamb shoulder fillets instead as I find it difficult to get neck meat off the bones, plus you don't get much meat. I don't bother with the rosewater or coriander. Can also get away with using a lot less meat (just reduce the amount of water slightly). I also chopped the dates and apricots.
28th Jan, 2015
Wow....this was amazing, did it tonight for a catch up with my girlfriends, it went down fabulously, I did rice and Harissa sweet potato wedges and sour cream to accompany it. Will defiantly make again x
11th Jan, 2015
I've left out the rosewater and chopped the dates and apricots, then they blend really well into the sauce. The recipe is a total winner!
3rd Jan, 2015
Absolutely delicious, and a real 'wow' moment when you put the dish in the middle of the table. I didn't have rosewater, and I would halve the apricots next time as a mouthful of pure apricot was a bit sweet. Otherwise it was perfect.
13th Dec, 2014
Quick and easy but the recipie does not explain what to do with the rosewater.


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