Zanzibari Lamb Tagine

Inspired by my time in Zanzibar, I decided to make a savory stew using many of the spices found there.   Even though there are a number of ingredients, it’s actually very easy and quick to put together.  Then you can let it cook while tending to something else (maybe wrapping some presents).  As with any tagine, it tastes even better if made a day in advance.  This impressive dish is particularly great if you’re having guests over (plus the cut is inexpensive). I used a mixture of boneless and bone-in to give it more flavor, but you can use all boneless meat to make it easier to serve.  In fact, this was such a huge hit that I’ve already gotten requests to make it again.  I’m sure you will too.


Zanzibari Lamb Tagine
Serves 4.


Spice Mixture:
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 tsp of turmeric
1/4 tsp of paprika
1/4 tsp of cayenne
1/8 tsp of ground cloves
1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg

1 lb of boneless lamb shoulder
2 lbs of bone-in lamb shoulder
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of water
A few pinches of saffran, if available
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsps of olive oil
4 small tomatoes, diced with juices
1/2 cup of tomato paste


Combine the spice mixture with 2 tbsps of olive oil and mix well.  Coat the lamb in the spice mixture.


Heat 2 tbps of olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Brown lamb on all sides.  Once browned, add onions to the pot.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add the stock, water, tomatoes and saffran (mine was super cheap in Asia).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce.  Simmer for one hour.  IMG_1119Stir in tomato paste.  Simmer for another half hour to an hour- until sauce thickens and lamb is tender and falls off the bone.


Serve over a simple couscous or with some creamy polenta.

To drink: a Cotes du Rhone or Shiraz goes nicely with the spices.  A simple bourbon or rye based drink also would work well, especially if you have some black pepper syrup to add to it.


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