Moroccan-inspired Lamb Stew

Can you feel it? Well, my northern-hemisphere friends – I certainly can. The weather is a-changing. Those long, bright, warm summer days are drawing in and it’s actually sometimes even – gasp – chilly when I go outside. Yes indeedy – autumn is rolling in, but you know; that’s fine! I like autumn. I love the crisp, cold air; the sight of leaves falling silently from the branches to the ground, and then the crunch of them underfoot; I love watching the trees outside my window get progressively more bare, before only a small handful of stubborn leaves remain – I wonder who will be the “last man standing” on the tree, and then wonder how on earth it can be possible that one solitary leaf can possibly survive, stuck to the tree, until well into winter, braving gales, rain, ice and snow, like some freak of nature super-leaf.

Bring it on I say – it’s a time for change, for hot chocolate, for plenty of things flavoured with cinnamon and ginger – things to warm the soul – which rather conveniently brings me to today’s recipe. I’ll admit that I actually made this some weeks ago, in the peak of the summer heat. Why? Because I’m an idiot, that’s why, and I have no sense of what is appropriate food for the season. I’ll frequently make salads in winter, and stews in the summer. That’s just the way I roll.

My wife had  given me a big box of meat from a butcher as an anniversary present earlier in the year – veal, lamb, rabbit and duck. The veal I used for my blanquette, the duck for the aromatic duck recipe, the rabbit for another dish which in the end I decided not to write about, although it was perfectly enjoyable, and has actually made me determined to try and enjoy this wonderful lean, healthy meat a bit more, and finally there remained the lamb.

Moroccan-inspired Lamb Stew

So many choices, so many opportunities! I decided to go for a Moroccan lamb stew, so after a little poll on my Facebook page I had some wonderful inspiration. The only problem was, I’d had three fantastic-looking recipes suggested to me, and I wanted to try them all, so in the end I decided to take the best aspects from every single one, mix in a few of my own ideas, cook it all up and hope for the best.

The result might not have been that pretty, but seriously… when is a stew pretty? Some people have the exceptionally annoying talent of making stews look absolutely incredible on-camera. I, sadly, am not one of those people, so you’re going to have to take my word for its tastiness.

Moroccan-inspired Lamb Stew

My wife had rather some misgivings about the stew, but she was very pleased with the result, and actually said it was some of the best lamb she’d ever had. Meat so tender you can push it apart with a fork, a delicately spiced, faintly sweet flavour, the occasional crunch of the nuts, and raisins which had soaked up all the juices during cooking and popped in the mouth with an explosion of sweetness. This was the very epitome of perfect Autumn fare – just too bad we ate it in Summer, eh?


Moroccan-inspired Lamb Stew
Serves 6
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
  1. 800g stewing Lamb, in chunks
  2. 500ml Water
  3. 250g cooked green Lentils
  4. 80g Dates
  5. 80g Prunes
  6. 60g dried Apricots
  7. 60g Raisins
  8. 50g Almonds
  9. 40g Butter
  10. 3 small Onions
  11. 1 red Pepper
  12. 1 small bulb of Garlic
  13. 2tbsps Olive Oil
  14. 2tsps ground Cinnamon
  15. 2tsps ground Ginger
  1. Start off by preheating your oven to 160 degrees Celsius, and then slice the apricots and prunes into strips. Pit the dates and slice these too, and then roughly chop the almonds.
  2. Finely chop the onions, and separate and peel the cloves of garlic before finely chopping as well. Chop the red pepper into thick strips and then take the lamb and cut the chunks into large bite-sized pieces, if the chunks are especially big.
  3. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and the butter and then add in the chopped onion and garlic and sauté gently until it softens. Remove from the pan and then in the same pan, lightly fry the lamb chunks until browning slightly all over - about 2 minutes or so in total.
  4. In a large cast-iron pot with a lid, or a dutch oven, place all the solid ingredients, including the ginger and cinnamon and pour the water over the top before stirring the contents gently. The water should just come to the top of the solid ingredients - you may need a little more or less than the stated amount.
  5. Cover the dish and place in the oven for one hour, and then remove the lid and cook for another hour or so, until the liquid has reduced down and the stew has thickened.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve as desired - with bread, rice or potatoes for example.
Five Euro Food


  1. says

    The fall has many things in its favour including the end of summer sweats though the ragweed floating around has been giving me some grief. It will be nice to get back to making big pots of soup, stews and casseroles to warm us up from the chill outside.

    You’ve got such a generous and thoughtful wife giving you all those lovely meats to play with. I have to admit that I bypassed Moroccan lamb recipes pretty quickly when I was looking for a way of preparing my own leg of lamb, debating between Greek and Indian. Because I was on a Greek roll/mindset, that’s what I went with. And then I went with shepherd’s pie with half of the leftovers. :)

    I can see how the various dried fruits and herbs would mask the ‘funky’ mutton smell that many people find objectionable. That’s what I tried to do myself with the lemon juice, white wine etc. I like your recipe more than my attempt … though I still have problems pairing meat and fruit. I still have one pound of leftover diced lamb meat to do something creative with. Maybe some lamb empanadas with chimichurri sauce or cornish pasty.

    • says

      I think I mentioned to you before – lamb isn’t very popular in Sweden, and people say it tastes like “kofta”. Now, this is where it gets funny… kofta doesn’t mean what you’d think it means. In Swedish it actually means “cardigan”, lol!

      The rabbit was fun to use too… definitely something I’d like to cook with more, and insanely healthy!

      • says

        Rabbit … I’m so jealous. For a while there I got 2 or 3 rabbits delivered at a time by my parents when the litter they had got old enough to butcher and they had no room in their own freezer.

        One of the things I tried was removing the tenderloins and deboning the hind legs and then doing a kind of ‘shake and bake’ with seasoned bread crumbs and baking the pieces because I didn’t want to pan fry them. I made a gravy with the carcase and it was all so very good. I shared a whole rabbit done this way with my Italian next door neighbour because I got tired of rabbit.

        I wonder how rabbit would taste in a jambalaya or even a paella.

  2. says

    I love Moroccan flavors!I just bought a cook book about Moroccan cooking and I can’t wait to make recipes out of it. I think your description of the final taste of the stew moved this recipe to the top of the list. I could almost taste it! Beautifully made and described Charles.
    We are getting chilly nights and early mornings. The big tree outside my window has already started to change color. New apples are beginning to show up in the market. I love the fall :)

    • says

      Hi Sawsan – my wife definitely had misgivings. I did too with all that fruit, but the result wasn’t overly sweet at all. It made for a lovely mix of complex flavours and caramelized fruit sugars. Really good!

  3. says

    Yes indeed, Autumn is waking up. And I am with you when you say thats just fine cos I like Autumn too! I love the sound of your stew bursting with all that fruit and almonds. Just perfect Autumnal food – the colour is even Autumnal!
    Oh and by the way, if I haven’t said it before, I meant to say I love your new email formet. Very cool :) x

  4. says

    Your lamb stew DOES look beautiful! The result sounds irresistible, though I would have to add a huge amount of chilli: I am not a fan of sweet Moroccan dishes with dried fruit unless they are really hot!
    We are still having beautiful warm summer days though nights get colder. I will probably be making stew more often soon!

    • says

      Hi Sissi – hm, chilli is a good idea. I didn’t think to add any “heat” but now you mention it, it sounds like a great idea!

      It’s hilarious, I post this and it’s getting cold, and then as soon as I do so, summer seems to come back again with a vengeance! 😀

  5. says

    Yes the weather is changing, but here it’s steaming again! =P We won’t be having stew sooo soon, so I ll keep your lamb stew recipe for another time. Oh and you are right stew is not the prettiest dish but so comforting!

  6. says

    A few days ago I wuld have said the same- yes I can feel it, brr! But the past days have been out of characteristically warm- even going to be near 30 degrees tmr! But the days are getting shorter and I hear it’s going to drop 10 degrees by saturday. Ah, London. Whatever the weather this looks ace for dinner- I love stews , there is something just so comforting about slow cooked tender meat and warm spice. Good one charles ! x

  7. says

    I must admit that I have not been a huge lamb fan but when we went to Morocco I was fortunate enough to enjoy the most delicious lamb stews on several occasions! It is still not something I make at home, but will gladly enjoy it in a restaurant. The Moroccan recipes were always so delicious, starting with their gorgeous aromas and ending with wonderful flavours and textures with every bite. Such an unusual gift, a big box of meat. It reminded me of a cookie cookbook my young brother gave me when he was 8 and I was 10, he inscribed it: This is really for me, in the long run! I’m sure your beautiful wife was thinking along the same lines!

    • says

      Hi Eva – I always thought I was never a lamb fan. My mother never cooked it, so I didn’t have it until very late in life and when I tried it for the first time… my God, I couldn’t believe I’d been missing such wonderful flavours all my life!

      It’s not for everyone though, I can understand that, but sometimes you try something which is spiced so well and it can completely change your view of something can’t it?!

  8. says

    I can feel the seasons changing but in the reverse! This is a lovely comforting dish that’s perfect for a chilly evening. I love Moroccan lamb stew especially if it is so tender it falls apart with a gentle nudge from the fork xx

    • says

      Thanks Charlie – you’d like this I think then… the meat was incredibly tender… didn’t even really chewing, and the flavours were fantastic!

  9. says

    I had to laugh, Charles! “I’ll admit that I actually made this some weeks ago, in the peak of the summer heat. Why? Because I’m an idiot, that’s why, and I have no sense of what is appropriate food for the season. I’ll frequently make salads in winter, and stews in the summer. That’s just the way I roll.” I’m that kind of idiot too; that’s just the way *I* roll! And “not pretty”? Never may that be said of any stew!

    • says

      Haha, thanks Jean! Well, I’m not going to change my ways… sometimes I get an urge for salad, in the midst of winter. Perhaps I just feel an urge to try and “remember” how nice it can be to eat such things in Summer, so I try to relive a bit of the experience!

  10. says

    I love this Charles and have bookmarked it to try. Our August was so cool, and now September is making up for that at the moment. But cooler weather will be here soon and autumn is my favorite time of year. Can’t wait to try this delicious looking stew…all my fave ingredients!

  11. says

    Our weather is changing too – it’s getting warmer and sunnier – YAY!!!!!!!!! (sorry, how long have a lived in a northern hemisphere? I’m permitting myself to gloat a little :)). Love the lentils and the Moroccan influences in this recipe — all the yummy fruit and spices. And talk about a protein packed meal!

  12. says

    Agree! It’s getting chilly in the evening and I thought of decorating Halloween stuff. Then back to 80-90F weather all the sudden. However, I’m getting ready to get comfy with stew and soup! This looks delicious, Charles! Love the recipe box and share this (floating thing – not sure how you call it). Sorry I’m a bit behind in your updates. Really love your changes!

    • says

      Thanks Nami – same here too… no sooner had I posted this then it suddenly got really hot again, LOL. Oh well – should make the most of it… cold weather will come soon enough! :)

  13. says

    First of all, your wife gave you a box of assorted meats for an anniversary present? That has got to be the most awesome gift I’ve ever heard of! :) Secondly, I’m so glad to read that someone loves fall as much I as do. Fall could 9 months of the year with 1 month for each of the other seasons. This is the perfect dish to welcome in the cooler temperatures. I love, love, love all of the dried fruits!

  14. says

    This is definitely on my list. Mike and Mr. N love lamb. I’m not the biggest fan, nor is Miss A, but I wonder if in a stew I would feel differently. I for one am happy you don’t have an annoying habit of making stew look pretty (not that it doesn’t – looks darn good to me!). I like that it looks exactly as it will when I make it in our house. It’s real. It’s authentic. It’s attainable. :) And best of all, I bet it’s really good. We’re not having fall weather this week, but as soon as we do, this is on our menu.

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