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Lamb and apricot tagine

Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients: this is very simple to make. The many spices build up a lovely depth of flavour that brings out the best in the lamb and apricots. Avoiding browning the meat first is something Mark picked up from the wonderful Deborah Robertson, who he worked with on 'A Taste of the Unexpected'. Typically Moroccans don't, and it makes for a straightforward, deliciously authentic dish.


Put the lamb into a bowl, add all the dry spices and mix together well. Cover and leave to stand in a cool place for at least 3 hours.

Put the spiced lamb, tomatoes and onions into a large pot and add enough water to just cover. Bring to a simmer, then add the ginger, saffron, tomato puree, olive oil and garlic. Stir well, return to a simmer, then lower the heat. Cook very gently, with the lid partially on, for 2 hours.

Add the apricots, lemon zest and juice, and 2 tbsp honey. Cook gently for another 30 minutes, adding a little water if you think it is needed. Taste and season, adding a little more honey if you fancy. Stir in the chopped coriander and mint.

Serve garnished with coriander sprigs, with lemon wedges on the side. Accompany with Moroccan breads or rice.

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  • 1kg shoulder of lamb, cut into 3cm chunks
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 25g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 500g dried apricots
  • A little pared zest and the juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-4 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped, plus a few sprigs to garnish
  • A small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Fruit Handbook