Moroccan Tagine with Lamb, Chicken, and Vegetables


This is the kind of food I want to eat when it's cold outside: hearty, healthy, and delicious. Now that a polar vortex has descended on New York, I'm staying warm by staying inside, so it's a perfect time to make this dish. It takes some time to put together a tagine but it's not difficult and the finished meal is always worth the effort. The mouth-watering aromas released as it cooks low and slow only build anticipation.

Braised dishes like tagines are always crowd pleasers and it's easy to tailor them to any taste. I used bone broth and a combination of lamb and chicken, but vegans and vegetarians could use vegetable or mushroom broth and chickpeas instead of meat. The amount of meat (or beans), vegetables, and spices you'll need will depend on how big your cooking vessel is and how many people you plan to feed, so below you will find general guidelines.

To serve 4 to 6 people, use about 2 pounds each of bone-in lamb and chicken, 1 large onion, 6 carrots, 1 eggplant, 2 zucchini, 1 bell pepper, 1 cup of tomatoes, 4 cups of bone broth, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the stronger spices (cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom, allspice, black pepper) and 1 teaspoon of the milder ones (cumin, coriander, turmeric).

  • Rendered animal fat or ghee
  • Bone-in meat like lamb stew meat and chicken thighs or drumsticks, at room temperature, seasoned generously with sea salt 24 to 48 hours in advance if possible
  • Vegetables like onion, carrots, eggplant, zucchini, and peppers, cut into large chunks
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ginger, grated
  • Garlic, grated
  • Ground spices: cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cardamom, allspice, turmeric, black pepper
  • Chopped tomatoes and their juices

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°F.
  2. Melt the fat in a large, oven-proof tagine (ceramic, enameled cast iron, or stainless steel), Dutch oven or covered skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in batches. Take the time to do this step properly. Remove and reserve the browned meat.
  3. Brown the vegetables, then season them with sea salt. Remove and reserve the browned vegetables.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and stir the ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cardamom, allspice, turmeric, and black pepper into the fat at the bottom of the pan. Cook until aromatic, just a minute or two.
  5. Add some chopped tomatoes and their juices to deglaze the pan. Stir to incorporate the spices and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add some bone broth, a couple of bay leaves, and a pinch of saffron if you have it. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  6. Return the browned meat to the pan, then the browned vegetables. If you don't have enough liquid to mostly submerge the meat, add some water. Return to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven for 90 minutes or more, until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.
  7. Arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter and serve the broth on the side, with whole wheat couscous or chickpea purée (gluten-free). Alternatively, arrange the meat and vegetables on a bed of couscous. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.