Slow-Cooked Lamb, Moroccan Style

Lamb shoulder

Lamb shoulder

By Cat, April 2010 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Lamb, Pork, Small Game Menu2. Mediterranean Menu3. Lamb (About)4. Lamb Roast (About); 5. Chickpeas (Garbanzos)

I’m just beginning to explore Moroccan foods. I once tried a Moroccan restaurant near my office in Portland. I don’t recall what I ordered, but it came swimming in a burning hot red oily liquid that definitely put me off. Now I’m experimenting with my own Moroccan dishes, so that I have more control over the end result. I’ve not yet tried this recipe.

Like many Moroccan dishes, this recipe combines the lamb with garbanzos (chickpeas), and wonderful spices.

Slow-Cooked Lamb, Moroccan Style

This recipe is adapted from Group Recipes: Moroccan Slow Cooked Lamb (1). The original serves 12 or more, so I cut it to serve 4.

Of course, you can use canned garbanzos (chickpeas), but I prefer to sprout dried chickpeas then cook them myself to ensure there are no unwanted added ingredients. Start sprouting at least 3 days before you want to make this recipe.

Similarly you can use commercial tomato paste, but I prefer to make my own; see Homemade Tomato Paste. I do not recommend using commercial chicken broth; instead, I make my own Chicken Stock (a bone-broth).

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Spice mix:
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ⅓ tsp fennel seeds
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • Prep:
  • ¼ cup sprouted & cooked chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed & drained
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large (or 2 small) plum tomato(s), chopped
  • 2 oz (⅓ cup) dried apricots
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼” – ½” piece ginger root, to make 1 ½ – 2 tsp peeled & minced
  • 2 tsp (packed) grated lemon zest
  • Stew:
  • ¾ – 1 lb lamb stew meat, or 1 ½ – 2 lb lamb shoulder
  • 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • ⅔ cup rich chicken stock
  • Garnish:
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Equipment
  • jar for sprouting
  • 2 large bowls
  • tiny bowl
  • cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed saucier with lid


  1. Sprout: Start garbanzos to sprout at least 3 days before preparing meal, then cook until tender.
  2. Prep: Chop onion; set aside.
  3. Chop tomato and place in a bowl; peel and mince ginger root and add to chopped tomato; add cooked chickpeas, dried apricots; grate lemon zest and add to tomato mixture with cinnamon stick; set aside.
  4. Debone and trim lamb. Cut meat into 1.5 – 2″ pieces and place in large bowl.
  5. Spice mix: In tiny bowl, combine cumin, coriander, salt, fennel, black pepper and cayenne. Add to meat chunks and toss to coat.
  6. Stew: Heat 1 Tbsp oil in skillet over medium-high heat. working in batches, add lamb to skillet and cook until browned on all sides, turning, and adding remaining oil between batches, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to another large bowl after each batch.
  7. Add onion and tomato paste to drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium and saute until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add tomato and chickpea mixture with chicken stock. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.
  9. Return lamb to skillet and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lamb is just tender, about 1 hour.
  10. Uncover and simmer to thicken sauce enough to coat a spoon, about 20 minutes.
  11. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve: Transfer to serving bowl, sprinkle with cilantro.

Assembly or Serving ideas

  • If desired, this can be slow-cooked a day ahead. Cool slightly, then refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover ad keep chilled. Rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve over cooked bulgur or couscous, with slivered almonds, chopped chives, mint and cilantro sprinkled on top.


  1. Group Recipes: Moroccan Slow Cooked Lamb (

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