Moroccan lamb stew recipe

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Lamb, spices, and a few vegetables are all you need for this simple and healthy slow cooker recipe. Together these ingredients will bring the flavors of Morocco to your kitchen.

Updated April 2018

I found two lamb shoulder chops from my local grocery store. I usually use a lamb roast but I thought I’d switch it up a bit. If you can’t find lamb shoulder chops then you can substitute regular lamb shoulder, lamb roast, or even a beef.

This is the third recipe I have posted to this blog using my Moroccan spice rub. I use the rub pretty frequently if you can’t tell. As I stated before, I keep a batch of this in my pantry. Here’s the rub again for you:

MOROCCAN SPICE RUB
1 tsp of the following
Ginger
Cumin
Turmeric
Paprika
Garlic Powder
Red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp of the following
Cinnamon
Coriander
Nutmeg
Cloves
Salt
Pepper

Make sure you press the rub firmly into the meat. When it slow cooks it will form a sort of crust on the meat. Similar to bark that you find on brisket or other smoked meats. If you are not familiar with bark, HERE is a good article explaining what it is and why it is so good.

I chose to pan-sear my meat after I rubbed the seasoning on, before I put it in the slow cooker. This is an optional step. I usually don’t take the time to sear my meat beforehand but I’m trying to use my 6-quart stove top browning slow cooker more which allows me to brown directly in the slow cooker, no transferring it from a skillet. I tossed in some carrots and onions but absolutely you can use your preferred vegetables. You can even add potatoes to make this a more complete meal.

3 important notes about this recipe: 1) This is one of those recipes where your house will smell amazing while it cooks, especially towards the end. 2) You’ll know it’s done when the meat it so tender it shreds easily with a fork. 3) The top of the meat will look burnt. It is not. That’s the spice rub crust/bark I mentioned earlier.

Scale 1x2x3x

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs lamb (I used shoulder chops)
  • 2 tbsp Moroccan spice rub (see blog post)
  • 1/4 lb carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Pour broth into the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Mix together Moroccan spice rub in a small box. Press 2 tbsp of the spice rub firmly all over the lamb shoulder meat.
  3. Add lamb and vegetables to the slow cooker.
  4. Top with fresh mint.
  5. Cook HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8.

I served this with mashed cauliflower to keep my meal low-carb.

PIN FOR LATER

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If you’re looking to make the best lamb stew, this recipe is all you need! Comforting, fall-apart tender braised lamb with loads of veggies, chickpeas and warm Moroccan flavors. You can also make this in your crock pot or pressure cooker; instructions included for both!

Be sure to grab my tips and watch the video below for how to make this lamb stew.

I happen to be of the school of thought where any one-pot recipe is a good recipe!

As a bonus, this lamb stew recipe is nearly impossible to mess up, so even if you’re not a super experienced cook, you can still make something delicious!

Lamb stew has that rich heartiness with deep and well-developed flavors that taste as if it has been cooked in an oven all day. My version takes only a few minutes of hands-on time and about two hours in the oven, making it a shortcut version without sacrificing any of the flavors. No special tagine pot needed!

And for those who swear by pressure cookers and crock pots, you can totally use either to make this lamb stew (see my notes below!)

What Goes in this Flavor-Packed Moroccan Lamb Stew?

This lamb stew recipe with vegetables begins with familiar hearty ingredients: like onions, garlic, carrots, gold potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas…

But to give it that wonderful Moroccan twist, I use a combination of sweet and savory flavors–from dried fruit to a host of warm spices!

I know you see those dried apricots! Using dried apricots–or other dried fruits like figs or raisins–may sound like an unusual choice, but trust me, it gives a mild, very subtle sweetness to help round out the flavors in the dish without being at all overpowering. And, if using whole apricots still sounds a bit too adventurous, chop them up into small bits using a sharp knife. Mincing the apricot will help it better dissolve in the sauce and give the flavor it needs without being too obvious.

Now let’s talk about the warm Moroccan spices…

The Winning Spice Mixture to Flavor your Moroccan Lamb Stew

This Moroccan lamb stew uses a blend of different spices and flavor-makers such as cinnamon, allspice, bay leaves, and, what I consider the star spice here, Moroccan Ras el Hanout.

Ras el Hanout is a decidedly North African/Moroccan spice blend that includes notes of turmeric, cloves, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and more! I love it because of its deep aroma and the layers of warm, deep flavor it adds to dishes, especially in something like lamb stew. You can find Ras el Hanout here at our online shop.

A little bit of Ras el Hanout goes a long way in this recipe!

Two Important tips for making this stew

1.What cut of Lamb to Use for Lamb Stew?

To make the perfect lamb stew, I use boneless leg meat compared to other cuts of lamb. This is a cut that’s pretty available in most grocery stores and easy to cut up into pieces.

Although lamb leg is a leaner cut of lamb, stewing (or slow-cooking in a crock pot) breaks it down. And the little bit of marbling dissolves right in during the cooking process, making the lamb buttery and melt in your mouth tender. You can substitute leg meat in this lamb stew recipe for lamb shoulder, or even substitute the lamb completely with beef if lamb meat is not available to you.

2. Braising is the way to go!

If you’re wondering what is the best way to cook lamb stew? Braising is where you begin.

Braising starts with searing the meat before stewing it in a little bit of liquid. Essentially, you brown the meat in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil until you get a nice crust and seal in all the juices before cooking in your Dutch oven (or even crock pot) with the rest of the ingredients and broth. Cook until the meat is nice and tender.

Let me just repeat this one tip: don’t skip browning the meat, it is so easy to do and makes a world of difference in developing depth and flavor right off the bat.

Step-by-Step for this Lamb Stew Recipe

  • To make Moroccan lamb stew at home, in a large heavy pot or Dutch Oven (affiliate), saute the chopped vegetables with a little oil. I use Private Reserve Geek extra virgin olive oil.
  • Once the vegetables soften, remove them from the pan and add in the lamb with a little bit more oil if needed. This stage is the braising stage where you want each piece of lamb to have that crispy crust from a deep browning that will seal in the juices, keeping the lamb tender and moist. The braising process will likely cause some of the bits to stick at the bottom of the pot—and that’s a good thing. Any browning adds flavor and richness to the sauce.
  • Once the meat is brown on all sides, add the vegetables back to the pot with the apricots, spices, tomatoes, and broth. Bring everything up to a boil, then cover and transfer to the cook in the oven for 1 ½ hours (check part-way through to add water if needed.) Remove briefly from oven, add in the chickpeas and cook another 30 to 45 minutes.

Note: Oven braising helps evenly distribute the heat that keeps the meat tender and retains its juiciness.

Lamb Stew in the Crock Pot or Pressure Cooker

This recipe is super friendly for crock pots and pressure cookers as well. Here is how you can make it in either:

To make in a crock pot

Follow the directions below by sauteing the vegetables and browning the lamb. Once the lamb is seared, transfer it into a crock pot along with the sauteed vegetables, apricots, spices, tomatoes, and broth. Cook on low heat for 6 hours. Stir in chickpeas, then let cook another 1 to 2 hours (up to 8 hours in total.) Or cook on high for up to 5 hours.

To make in a pressure cooker

Instead of using a Dutch oven or other oven-safe cooking pot, follow the steps below to saute and braise using your pressure cooker.

Then, add in all the ingredients except for the chickpeas to the pot and lock the lid in place. Cook for 30 minutes on high pressure.

When the timer is up, allow the pressure to safely release for about 10 minutes before using quick-release according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add in the chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release again according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Make-Ahead and Storage Instructions

As with many stews, Moroccan lamb stew can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer without sacrificing any of the flavor.

To Make-Ahead and Refrigerate: If you’re planning a dinner party and want to work a bit in advance, you can make this lamb stew a day or two ahead of time and keep in the fridge. It helps to bring it closer to room temperature before reheating in the oven (be sure to add more liquid as well for reheating.) a day or two and then reheated in the oven, making a great option for dinner parties or preparing for a busy night.

To Freeze Cooked Lamb Stew: This stew can also be frozen for those who meal prep.Cool the stew to room temperature and store in a freezer-safe airtight container for up to one month. Thaw in your fridge overnight and reheat in oven.

What to Serve with this Moroccan Lamb Stew

This lamb stew is pretty hearty on its own, and does not require much else to complete the meal. I occasionally serve it with challah bread, or any crusty bread. It’s also great, ladled on top of some beautiful Lebanese rice or plain couscous. For starters, I often serve a bright salad like fattoush and these Moroccan carrots.

Watch the Video for How to Make This Moroccan Lamb Stew:

Check out more Moroccan recipes.

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Description

If you’re looking to make the best lamb stew, this recipe is all you need! Comforting, fall-apart tender braised lamb with loads of veggies, chickpeas and warm Moroccan flavors. You can make this in your crock pot or pressure cooker; instructions included for both!

Be sure to check out my tips above and watch the video for how to make this lamb stew.

Scale 1x2x3x

  • Private Reserve Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, cubed
  • 6 Yukon gold potatoes (or any small potatoes), peeled, cubed
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2.5 lb boneless leg of American lamb, fat trimmed, cut into cubes (Or American lamb shoulder, bones removed, fat-trimmed)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup dried apricots
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ras el hanout Moroccan spice blend (find it here)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 6 plum tomatoes from a can, cut in halves
  • 2 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas
  1. In a large Dutch oven (affiliate) or heavy oven-safe pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking.
  2. In the heated oil, saute the onions, carrots, and potatoes for 4 minutes or so. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pot and set aside briefly.
  3. In the same pot, add more oil if needed, and deeply brown the lamb on all sides. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Turn heat to medium-high and return the sauteed vegetables to the pot. Add the dried apricots, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and spices and stir to coat.
  5. Add the plum tomatoes and broth and bring everything to a boil for 5 minutes or so.
  6. Cover the pot and place in the 350 degrees F heated-oven for 1 ½ hours (check partway through to add water or broth if needed). Now stir in the chickpeas, cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve hot with your choice of Lebanese rice, couscous, pita bread or your favorite rustic bread.
  8. A simple Mediterranean salad like Fattoush makes a great starter for this hearty meal. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Crockpot Instructions: If you prefer, after step #5 is completed, transfer the lamb stew to a large slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours, then stir in chickpeas and cook another 1 to 2 hours (total of up to 8 hours.) Or cook on high for 4 to 5 hours in total.
  • Pressure-Cooker Instructions:Instead of using a Dutch oven or other oven-safe cooking pot, follow the steps below to sauté and braise using your pressure cooker.Then, add in all the ingredients except for the chickpeas to the pot and lock the lid in place. Cook for 30 minutes on high pressure.When the timer is up, allow the pressure to safely release for about 10 minutes before using quick-release according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add in the chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release again according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Recommended for this Recipe: Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil; all-natural Ras El Hanout spice blend; and ground allspice.
  • Visit Our Online Shop to browse our olive oils and all-natural and organic spices.

  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stewed
  • Cuisine: Moroccan

Keywords: lamb stew, Moroccan Lamb Stew

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2017 and has been revised with new information and media for readers’ benefit. Enjoy!

  1. Dust the lamb with the flour. Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the lamb in batches. Set aside. In the same pan, add the onion and carrots and gently fry for 10min. Add a splash of water if they start to stick to the pan.

  2. Stir in the garlic, harissa and cinnamon and cook for 1min. Add a splash of water and use a wooden spoon to help scrape any goodness from the bottom of the pan, then stir it in. Pour in the tomatoes and return the lamb to the pan. Stir in the apricots and season. Cover and simmer for 1hr or until the lamb is tender. Season to taste.

  3. Meanwhile, put the couscous in a bowl and add boiling water according to the packet instructions. Cover with clingfilm and leave for 10min. When ready, fluff up the grains with a fork, then stir in the parsley. Season. Serve the lamb topped with spoonfuls of couscous.

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The flavors of Morocco: lamb and apricots, cumin, coriander and allspice with a whisper of cinnamon. You can bring it all home for dinner tonight, so long as you prepare your slow cooker with the essential 18 ingredients in the morning.

It may sound like a lot of elements going into the dish, but the complexity of details is necessary to produce an authentic dish that is worthy of praise. In choosing your cut of lamb for stew, opt for meat from the shoulder if you can, as this becomes incredibly tender after braising – the two-step process of browning the bite-sized chunks on the stove top, followed by a long, slow simmering. As for the dried apricots, search for those that have not been treated with sulphites, to keep your meal as clean as possible. They won’t be bright orange, but it is the sweetness and flavor, not the color you are after here. If you are on the other side of the fence about eating lamb, let us suggest that you whet your appetite with lamb and sweet potato cottage pie, for a recipe that comes from perhaps a bit closer to home. Either way, your taste buds will thank you for exploring a new-to-you delicacy.

Serve with cauliflower rice, toasted slivered almonds for a nutty crunch, and a generous amount of sautéed greens of your choosing.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Stew Recipe

Serves: 4Prep: 25 minCook: 6h

Protein: 82g / %

Carbs: 27g / %

Fat: 34g / %

Values are per portion. These are for information only & are not meant to be exact calculations.

Add to Meal Plan

  • 2 lb. lamb stew meat, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 to 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 10 dried apricots
  • 2 cups beef or lamb stock
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Fresh cilantro, to garnish
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Melt coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Brown the lamb on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Add all spices (cumin, fennel, coriander, ground cinnamon, ground allspice) to the meat, stir well, season to taste and place in a slow cooker.
  3. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger to the pan and cook until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes; then add to slow cooker.
  4. Add the carrots, tomatoes, parsnips, and dried apricots to the slow cooker, along with the coconut milk.
  5. Pour the beef stock over everything, top with the cinnamon stick, cover, and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
  6. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.

Moroccan lamb stew is a hearty Mediterranean dish packed with sweet and savory flavors. Each serving is loaded with fragrant braised vegetables and couscous for a complete meal!

Moroccan lamb stew is a bold one-pot dish with fragrant and hearty ingredients. Sweet and pungent spices infuse into tender pieces of meat and vegetables as they slowly cook. Making a stew allows affordable and less tender cuts of meat to transform into a glorious and tender feast.

Using the technique of browning the lamb first to add new flavors and textures, then slowly simmering in a flavorful liquid makes the meltingly soft. The stew is topped with cinnamon-scented couscous to soak up all of the delicious juice. As the Fall weather starts to cool down this flavorful recipe provides a healthy and nourishing warm meal.

How to cook lamb stew

This Moroccan lamb stew recipe uses cubes of lamb shoulder that has been browned in oil first, then slowly simmered in a tomato and beef broth base. The stew gently infuses fragrant spices from whole cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cumin and lemon peel.

  • Selecting Meat: Use tougher cuts of meat like lamb shoulder or leg of lamb. These pieces naturally contain more connective tissue like collagen. The moist cooking process will help to break down the collagen.
  • Browning Meat: Using the dry heat cooking method, brown each side of the meat cubes in olive oil to create color pigments and add flavor. This only happens at high temperatures above 285°F.
  • Slow Cooking: Simmering the meat in the cooking liquid over low heat, for longer time creates a tender and moist product. The connective tissues contain collagen that converts to gelatin when cooked in water, which adds flavor and richness to the stew. The tender pieces of lamb absorb all of the delicious spices from the seasonings.

We can’t always enjoy an expensive center cut filet of beef every night, so why not use some simple cooking techniques to make tougher cuts of meat tender and tasty! If you are looking for more hearty and flavor-packed stews, try my Grandma’s Chinese ginger beef stew or my Guinness corned beef stew, yum!

The stewing liquid combines the warm cinnamon, ginger and cumin spices with savory garlic, onions, and olives. A hint of sweetness and acidity from orange juice, tomatoes, and dried chopped apricots complements the flavors.

The carrots and butternut squash slowly simmer in the huge pot of lamb and spices. Your home will be filled with sweet and savory aromas, just like walking through a spice market in Morocco.

I serve this Moroccan lamb stew with couscous, which is a small rice-sized pasta made of semolina and wheat flour. The couscous cooks quickly and absorbs flavors very easily into each tender grain.

Hooray for leftovers! This delicious recipe provides plenty of extra servings for the next few days. I enjoy this lamb stew when taking a lunch break at work. The flavors have more time to soak into the meat, and the liquid becomes, even more flavorful.

Add Preserved Lemons for Extra Flavor

If you have access to or have a chance to make preserved lemons, it will take this lamb stew to the next level! A staple in Moroccan cuisine, whole cut lemons are brined with salt and allowed to ferment over time to create intense new citrus flavors and aromatics, adding a unique depth to any dish. Just rinse the preserved lemons before using and substitute the amount 1:1 for the freshly grated peel on this recipe.

4.13 from 16 votes

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Couscous

Moroccan lamb stew is a hearty Mediterranean dish packed with sweet and savory flavors. Prep Time15 mins Cook Time2 hrs Total Time2 hrs 15 mins Course: Entree Cuisine: Middle Eastern Servings: 4 servings Calories: 695kcal Author: Jessica Gavin

Morrocan Lamb Stew-

  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into ½-inch rounds
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 28 ounces tomatoes, canned diced, with juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, and zest
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup unsalted beef stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup green olives
  • zest of one lemon
  • kosher salt, as needed
  • black pepper, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons sliced mint leaves, for garnish

Couscous-

  • 2 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • In a medium sized bowl combine lamb, cumin, ginger and ground cinnamon.
  • In large pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown lamb cubes on all sides, about 5 minutes, work in batches if needed. Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon and transfer to a clean plate.
  • Turn down the heat to medium, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic, sauté until softened, stirring as needed, about 5 minutes.
  • Add carrots and squash to the pot, cook for 5 min, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add the lamb, tomatoes, orange juice and zest, apricots, 1 cup of beef stock, cinnamon stick and dried bay leaf.
  • Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to get up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • When the stew comes to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer over low heat.
  • Cook until the lamb is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check stew and stir every 20 minutes.
  • Add olives and lemon zest to the pot. Cook covered about 10 minutes more.
  • Season stew with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve lamb hot with couscous and garnish with chopped parsley and sliced mint.
  • In a 2 quart saucepan, bring beef stock, olive oil, salt, and cinnamon stick to a boil. Add couscous, stir, cover and turn off heat.
  • Let couscous sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork to separate the grains.
  • Leg of lamb may be substituted for lamb shoulder. If bone in, make sure to factor in the weight of the bone (buy around 3 pounds of meat instead of 1 1/2 pounds).

Nutrition Facts Moroccan Lamb Stew with Couscous Amount Per Serving Calories 695 Calories from Fat 261 % Daily Value* Fat 29g45% Saturated Fat 7g35% Polyunsaturated Fat 3g Monounsaturated Fat 15g Cholesterol 112mg37% Sodium 861mg36% Potassium 1154mg33% Carbohydrates 67g22% Fiber 7g28% Sugar 12g13% Protein 43g86% Vitamin A 7050IU141% Vitamin C 42.1mg51% Calcium 90mg9% Iron 4.9mg27% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.