Rockin’ Moroccan Lovers’ Lamb in a Clay Tagine

Rockin’ Moroccan Lovers’ Lamb Recipe
An aphrodisiac dish of succulent lamb shanks tagined slowly with pungent fresh ground ras el harout, rose petals, pommes d’amour, almonds and spicy toasted bird peppers, bedded down on grilled honeyed figs and nestled in a menage a trois of rose water, saffron couscous and sultanas.


Lots of Ingredients – much you might just have around the house and can feel free to make your own by substituting… this is a forgiving recipe.

Serves 2 – If you have a larger tagine or cooking pot you could double or triple this recipe… but that’s a very big tagine! I sometimes make the lamb in patches 2 shanks at time, or 2 tagines going at once and mix it all together. In one pot, off the bone, this can feed a lot of people as an appetizer or meal.

Two Lamb Shanks – Bone in

For the Marinade

4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 tablespoon of Bird Peppers Crushed or any hot pepper
3 Tablespoons of Ras El Honout Spice Blend (This blog Spicelines has many including Paula Wolfert‘s wondeful recipe)
1 minced clove of garlic
2 Tablespoons Rose Water


Cooking Ingredients

2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium onion halved then quartered
3 cloves of garlic whole but smashed
Remaining marinade
2 Tablespoons of Ras El Honout
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 teaspoons of Salt
1.5 teaspoons of Ground Pepper
1 teaspoon of Cumin
4 crushed Bird Peppers
2 Cups of Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon of Rose Water (optional)
1 8 oz can of diced Tomatoes
1/8 Cup of Blanched Almonds (optional)


Ingredients for the Grilled Figs

9 Fresh Figs with stem cut off and cut in half from stem to bottom
1/8 C of Honey (or Agave Nectar)
2 Teaspoons of Ras El Honout



1/8 C of Plump Golden Raisons or Santanas
1/4 Cup of Rose Water
Few threads of Sapphron
2 3/4 cups of Water or Vegetable Brouth
1 1/2 cups of Couscous


Start by blending all the marinade ingredients. Marinade the two lamb shanks for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Cut the stems off your Fresh Figs and slice your Fig in half from stem top to stem bottom. Toss the cut figs with the honey and spice mixture. Let marinade for 2 hours or overnight refrigerated.

If you have a stove top Tagine (or Dutch Oven) follow the directions below.
If you would like to cook this dish in the oven, brown the meat first, then transfer to an oven dish. Cook in oven the same amount as the stove top tagine at 350 degrees.


Place olive oil, butter in a tagine or a dutch oven. Over medium heat, add the shanks and spices, onions, garlic and hot peppers. Once the lamb is braised on all sides, add the remaining marinade,  two cups of water (or vegetable stock) with the rose water (optional). Bring the meat liquid mixture to a light boil then reduce the heat to low and cook tightly covered for 2.5 hours. You should check from time to time to make sure you have a good amount of liquid in the pan. Feel free to add more water or stock if necessary.

While your meat is cooking, grill the figs, skin side down with the flesh of the fruit towards the flame. Broil over low for approx 4 min. Long enough to get soft but not mushy. Set aside to cool

When your meat is well cooked and practically falling from the bone, approximately 2.5 hours, remove from heat, with the Tagine lid still on and set aside. The meat and the figs could be prepared a day ahead.

Soak the Santanas in the Rose Water and Saffron

Remove the meat from the broth and continue to simmer down (in the original cooking pan/tagine). You will want at least 1 to 2 cups of broth to pour over the meat and couscous. The broth should be liquidy and flavorful. Once cooked down you will want to have the consistency of a brothy gravy. At least 20 min should be good for this step. (if you are going to be removing the lamb meat from the shank, I would put the bones in with the broth and let my broth cook for about an hour. If you are in a rush you could taste the broth and season and serve as soon as the meat is ready.
While reducing the broth (or near it final stages), boil the water/broth for the couscous. Once boiling, add the couscous, the soaked sultanas, saffron, rosewater blend and almonds. Cook for one min. Then set aside tightly lidded or move to a tightly covered serving tagine to let the couscous absorb the moisture.


You can serve this Rocking Moroccan Lovers Lamb a few different ways.
If you would like a Romantic Meal for two (great recipe for Valentines Day), you could leave the meat on the shank. Place a good size mound of couscous on a plate setting the shank on top, nest the grilled figs in the couscous surrounding the shank and sprinkle with a couple of gently torn rose pedals.


If you would like to take the meat off the bone, you could combine the broth and meat in a serving dish. Place the figs decoratively nested in the couscous and let everyone combine the two dishes.


For bite size Lovers Lamb you can serve this dish as an appetizer. Take a rose petal, and use it like an edible dish. Placing a teaspoon of couscous on the petal, nest a seasoned grilled fig in the center of the couscous and top with shredded lamb, topped with a blanched, seasoned almond. An impressive bite size presentation and burst of flavor.

This recipe was featured at the 2009 Lamb Takedown created and hosted by the none other magnificence, Matt Timms.  See his other Takedowns and attend if you can. Great fun and fabulous food!! One of these days I will post my winning Chili Recipe, here is a vegetarian Chili recipe to keep you warm in the meantime.


I made this lamb dish for the competition in a couple of these La Souk stove top tagine from Tunisia. I Highly recommend this Tagine. Nice bowl on the bottom and handled my gas stove and oven very well. Easy to clean, very pretty and resonibly priced… Check out their fabulous serving Tagines!! Big on my wishlist! Be very careful which Tagines you use… many are loaded with lead including easy to buy ones here in the US. I will write about this soon. If you would like to know where to buy these Tagines please email or send me a comment.