This spicy lamb stew from the October 2011 issue of Bon Appetit is flavoured with Ras-El-Hanout, a combination of coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, paprika, cardamom, ginger and turmeric. Cubed lamb is browned and then simmered with the spices, onion and tomatoes. Chickpeas and dried apricots are added just before serving.

The recipe includes instructions for cooking the chickpeas; I used cooked canned chickpeas, which were fine. If you use canned, you won’t need the cinnamon stick or the two whole garlic cloves. Be sure to trim as much fat as you can from the lamb.

Blend the Ras-El-Hanout in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle

Trim the fat from the lamb and brown it well

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, look for all-natural canned tomatoes and stock, such as Imagine brand. It can be difficult to find dried apricots with no sulfites added, but many grocery stores do stock them.

Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Apricots


¾ cup dried chickpeas (or a can of cooked chickpeas)

5 garlic cloves (2 whole, 3 chopped)

1 large cinnamon stick, broken in half

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds 1″ cubes of lamb shoulder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, diced

5 teaspoons (see recipe below)

1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger

1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juices

2½ cups (or more) low-salt chicken stock

½ cup halved dried apricots

Steamed couscous

Chopped fresh cilantro


1½ teaspoons coriander seeds

¾ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Toast coriander and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until aromatic and slightly darkened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a spice mill; let cool. Add crushed red pepper flakes. Process until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl. Add remaining ingredients; whisk to blend. Can be made 1 month ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.


If cooking the chickpeas yourself: Place chickpeas in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 2″. Let soak overnight. Drain chickpeas; return to same saucepan. Add 2 whole garlic cloves and cinnamon stick. Add water to cover by 2″. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain; set aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown lamb on all sides, about 4 minutes per batch.

Transfer lamb to a medium bowl. Add onion to pot; reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic, Ras-el-Hanout, and ginger. Stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and lamb with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil. Add 2½ cups stock. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Stir in chickpeas; simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in apricots; simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon couscous onto a large, shallow platter, forming a large well in center. Spoon tagine into center. Sprinkle cilantro over. Serves 6–8.

From the October 2011 issue of Bon Appetit