Moroccan Lamb Stew is loaded with wonderful flavors and texture. Make it on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the slow-cooker. Plus, a few extra ingredients give this stew a Libyan-inspired riff.
(Updated post) Moroccan Lamb Stew is near and dear to my heart because it's the first recipe I ever posted on Flipped-Out Food.
It has endured the insult of THE. MOST. HORRIBLE. photo for years:
(Looks at shoes and shuffles feet)
I've been working diligently on my photography skills since taking that hideous photo, even though I'm FAR from where I'd like to be.
But I finally, finally got around to re-shooting this meal.
Soups and stews are devilishly hard to photograph so that they look half as good as they taste.
I expect that Moroccan Lamb Stew will get at least one more photo shoot before I'm happy, but this is miles better.
Making Moroccan Lamb Stew
Moroccan Lamb Stew is Phil's favorite soup.
It has an amazing flavor profile that ranges from cumin, coriander, and fennel to cinnamon, ginger, and apricots.
The lamb is juicy and succulent; its flavor is set off perfectly by the sweetness of the apricots.
If you're not a fan of lamb, by all means use beef (a chuck roast cut into cubes would do just fine).
Giving the stew a Libyan flair
You can give this Moroccan Lamb Stew a Libyan flair by adding a tablespoon each of turmeric and paprika.
Then, about ¾ of the way through cooking, add in some cooked spaghetti squash.
This type of squash is most easily prepared by stabbing the squash repeatedly with a knife and nuking it for about 10 minutes (but don't let it explode!).
Then pull its guts out (the slimy part), and shred the remaining squash into strands with a fork.
Cooking is rather violent, no?
I always make this stew a day in advance because it's ALWAYS better on the second day, when the flavors have had a chance to meld and deepen in complexity.
It's EVEN BETTER on the third day!
Browning the meat
I like to brown the meat in small batches over medium-high heat, cooking until browned on all sides.
When the lamb is brown, I transfer it to a large, clean bowl.
I also like to do an overnight "marinade" with the cooked meat in wine/beer.
It helps break down any remaining connective tissue and makes the meat incredibly tender.
If you opt for this step, deglaze the pan with the wine or beer, scrape up the brown bits, and mix that delicious concoction with the meat you've browned.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. Then I pick up with sautéeing the veggies and assembling the stew the next morning.
There are a couple of options for cooking methods.
You can cook the Moroccan Lamb Stew in a 325 degree oven for 2-3 hours.
Cover it with parchment paper (as in, actually rest the parchment paper on the surface of the stew and up the sides of the pot, then cover tightly).
Add the squash for the Libyan version at 1 ½ to 2 hours.
OR, you can put the whole shebang in a crock pot, set the thing on low, and see what happens when you get home from work.
You can now add the spaghetti squash for the Libyan version if you'd like, raise the heat to high, and cook for about half an hour more.
I've done it all three ways, and I have to say that this path-of-least resistance method works just as well.
Make the stew ahead!
If you're making this Moroccan Lamb Stew a day in advance, allow the finished stew to cool.
The best way to do this is to remove it from the heat for 15 minutes. Then, put it in a cold water bath in the sink for an additional 10 minutes.
I use Siri timers to keep track so the food doesn't sit out too long.
Place the uncovered pot in the refrigerator until completely cooled, and then add the lid.
I like to squeeze some lemon juice over the stew right before serving and then garnish with chopped cilantro.
And that's it. I hope your family will enjoy my version of Moroccan Lamb Stew as much as we do!
I'm linking my Moroccan Lamb Stew recipe up with:
- #CookBlogShare, a great food blogger recipe-share at Easy Peasy Foodie.
- #CookOnceEatTwice, for recipes that are just as good left-over as they are when you made them, hosted by Searching for Spice.
- #BrillBlogPosts, a link party with a variety of lifestyle reads hosted by Honest Mum.
- Friday Frenzy, hosted at Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck.
Moroccan Lamb Stew
This fantastic stew has a wonderful balance of flavors and textures. It can be made up to 2 days in advance (it's better that way, actually) on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the crockpot.
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, I like to grind them lightly in a mortar & pestle
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (I like more!)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 ½ lbs trimmed boned lamb shoulder, cut into 1 ½- to 2-inch pieces (I've used leg too!)
- 4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine or dark beer
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 large can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped into large chunks (about 5 ounces)
- 2 large plum tomatoes, chopped (or use a can of stewed tomatoes, drained and crushed)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon finely minced, peeled fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoon packed grated lemon peel
- Lots of chopped, fresh cilantro (optional)
- lemon wedges, for serving
FOR A LIBYAN-INSPIRED RIFF:
- 1 tbsp. turmeric
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (cooked, seeded, and scraped out from the shell)
- Mix the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Add the lamb and mix to coat. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a large, heavy skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Working in small batches, add the lamb to the pot and cook until browned on all sides (about 8 minutes per batch), turning occasionally. If needed, add 2 additional tablespoon of oil to the pot between batches. Transfer the lamb to a large, clean bowl after browning each batch.
OPTIONAL MARINATING STEP:
- If you plan to marinate the meat overnight, deglaze the pan with wine or beer, making sure to scrape up the yummy brown bits. Let cool, and then store in a tightly sealed zip-top bag overnight, turning occasionally. Then resume with the aromatics in the morning, adding the lamb mixture back to the pot at the normal deglaze step (below). OR, simply move forward with the steps below.
PREPARING THE AROMATICS AND DEGLAZING:
- Add the onion to your pot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. If you are doing the Libyan riff, add the paprika and turmeric; sauté for 1 minute. Turn heat to high and add in the wine or beer to deglaze the pan (if you skipped the overnight marinade above; otherwise, add in the lamb mixture). Add the broth, garbanzo beans, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and lemon peel and bring to boil, scraping up any the delicious browned bits.
COOKING OPTION #1: STOVETOP
- Return the lamb to your pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lamb is just tender, about 1 hour. Uncover and simmer until the sauce thickens up enough to coat a spoon, about 20 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
COOKING OPTION #2: THE OVEN
- After bringing the stew to a boil, cover with parchment paper, resting the parchment paper directly on the surface of the stew and up the sides of the pot. Cover tightly and place in a 325 degree oven for 2-3 hours. Add the squash for the Libyan version at 1 ½ to 2 hours.
COOKING OPTION #3: THE SLOW-COOKER
- After deglazing your pan, pour the contents into the crock of your slow-cooker. Mix in the broth, garbanzo beans, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and lemon peel. Set the slow-cooker on low; let cook for a minimum of 6 hours (up to 8). Add the spaghetti squash for the Libyan version (if you'd like), raise the heat to high, and cook for about half an hour.
- Serve the stew in warmed bowls with cilantro. Garnish with lemon wedges.
- The stew goes wonderfully with couscous or rice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 bowl (about 2 cups)
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Don't miss a thing!
Follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. PLUS, get easy dinner ideas and cooking hacks delivered straight to your inbox when you subscribe to the Flipped-Out Food Newsletter!
Colleen - Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck says
This is just the type of stew I want to make when the weather starts cooling down!!!
Me too, Colleen! To me, stews are the only up-side of winter! 😉
KJelly Lynns Sweets and Treats says
The flavors in this stew sound AMAZING! Thanks for sharing at Friday Frenzy Link Party! PINNED!!
Thank you, Kelly!! 🙂
Midge @ Peachicks' Bakery says
I bet this smells amazing while its cooking! Loving the new photos - I am still working through mine and trying to update them!
Thank you, Midge!! You're so kind. Yes, it seems like a never-ending chore to update photos and posts. Best of luck with yours!
Jenny walters says
I love Moroccan flavours and this baby looks incredible and good for you too. I have some SHOCKING photos on my blog that I keep ignoring. I don't even like to go on the page.....I always end up sweating profusely with major back ache when I've been trying to photograph my recipes. Most of the time I bloody hate it!!! Not a clue!
Thank you, Jenny! And thanks also for reminding me that others are in the same boat with regards to photography. Yes, some of my photos make my eyes bleed!
Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie says
Love, love LOVE Moroccan Lamb Stew - so much so I have about 5 different versions of it on my site - not to mention a whole load of other Moroccan inspired lamb dishes. There's just something about North African spices and lamb: match made in heaven. So good! And oh I agree with you: this kind of food is the hardest to make look good. (Why is it that the best tasting food is nearly always the worst looking food!!) Thanks for linking up to #CookBlogShare. Eb x
Ooohh, thank you Eb!! And yes, I've drooled over your Moroccan recipes. I agree, lamb and African spices are made for each other!
Cat | Curly's Cooking says
This looks so rich and full of flavour. I'm not a fan of lamb, but I can imagine this would be very tasty with beef.
Thanks, Cat! I've made it with chuck roast as well and it's quite good! Plus, chuck roast is easier to prep than lamb: BONUS!
Lucy @ Supergoldenbakes says
So many delicious flavours. I bet that squeeze of lemon at the end brings the entire dish together so well.
Thanks, Lucy! It really does!
I absolutely love cumin so this stew is right up my street!
Kristina @ Love & Zest says
Oh, WOW! The flavor combination in this pot is amazing! Sounds like a remarkable MUST TRY dish!
Thanks, Kristina! It is definitely a must-try! 🙂
Beth @ Binky's Culinary Carnival says
I made a lamb tagine with the apricots one time and we all adored it! Not sure why I haven't made it since! I agree, stews are always superior after a day or two! Thanks for reminding me of this fantastic stew!!
Thanks, Beth! I love tagines, but haven't technically made one, since I don't own the cooking vessel. I always wanted to, though, so it's on my cooking bucket list!
I'm loving the flavor combination of spices. I also love that it is better served the next day (or 3rd day). Something always seems to happen and I end up not serving the meal until the next day.
Thanks, Amanda! Yes, that frequently happens in my house as well—though I privately consider it a gift, because the end result is even better!
Igor @ Cooking The Globe says
I love Moroccan cuisine but I have never tried lamb stew. Your recipe sounds gorgeous, bookmarking to make it when I'll find a good looking lamb shoulder!
Thank you, Igor!
YUM!! All those spices with the apricots and lamb - AHH-mazing! We're big fans of lamb and yummy comfort food. Can't wait to try this recipe out!
Thanks, Holly! I hope you love it!
Hannah Healy says
This is so amazing and warm!
Jessica (Swanky Recipes) says
Now this is comfort food at it's best! Loving all the fresh ingredients used in this recipe! We usually splurge and get lamb a few times a year. Saving this recipe to try next!
Thank you, Jessica! Lamb is a treat in our house as well. I hope you enjoy it!
Sandra Shaffer says
What a flavorful dish! I love meals that taste even better as you allow the flavors to meld together. That's when leftovers are the best!
Thanks Sandra! Yes, stew leftovers are the BOMB.