Lamb and medjool date tagine with couscous

Herb-speckled couscous makes a perfect partner for fragrant lamb with sticky dates in this Middle Eastern inspired tagine from Merrilees Parker
By Merrilees Parker
Lamb and medjool date tagine with couscous
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus overnight marinating
  • Effort: easy



  • 2 tbsp mild paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5 kg lamb shoulder, well trimmed and cut into 4cm chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2.5 cm piece ginger, chopped
  • 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 600 ml tomato juice
  • 600 ml lamb or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 225 g fresh medjool dates, stoned and halved
  • 1 lemons, chopped

For the couscous

  • 350 g couscous
  • 2 lemons, juices
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 600 ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint
  • 1 pinches black pepper


Mix together the paprika, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin and pepper in a large bowl, then tip half into a small bowl and set aside. 2. Add the lamb to the large bowl and coat in the spices. Cover with cling film and chill overnight. 3. Set the oven to 170°C/gas 3. 4. Place the garlic, ginger and onions into a food processor and pulse until finely minced. 5. Heat half of the oil in a large heavy-based casserole and fry the marinated lamb in batches, until browned. Remove from the pan. 6. Add the remaining oil to the pan and then add the onion mixture cook for a few minutes until softened but not coloured. Stir in the reserved spice mixture and cook for another minute or so until well combined. 7. Pour the tomato juice and stock into the pan and then add the honey, dates and lemon and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for two hours, until the lamb is completely tender and the sauce has thickened and reduced. Season to taste. 8. To make the couscous, place it in a large bowl and add four tablespoons of the oil and the lemon juice. Mix well ensuring that all the grains are completely coated. 9. Heat the stock in a small pan and season generously. Pour over the couscous and leave in a warm place for six to eight minutes until all the liquid has absorbed, stirring occasionally. 10. Stir the remaining oil and the herbs into the couscous and serve immediately with the tagine. 11. Garnish with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a scattering of coriander leaves.

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