Top | Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco

Lamb Tagine with Carrots and Celery

(recipe, Paula Wolfert)


This fresh-looking tagine is best made with tender celery hearts and fresh sweet carrots. However, winter carrots sliced small and stringy celery well scraped will do nicely. Serves six people as part of a Moroccan dinner.


  1. 2½ to 3 lb. lamb shoulder, cut into 1½-inch chunks
  2. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  3. Salt to taste
  4. ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  5. ¾ tsp. powdered ginger
  6. Pinch of saffron
  7. ¼ tsp. turmeric
  8. 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  9. 2 Tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro
  10. 1 small onion, grated
  11. 2 bunches (1 pound) celery
  12. 1 lb. carrots
  13. 1½ to 2 preserved lemons, rinsed
  14. 4 oz. Kalamata or Gaeta olives
  15. 4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice


  1. Trim excess fat from the lamb. In a large casserole, toss the lamb chunks with the garlic, salt, spices, oil, herbs, and onion. Cover with ⅔ cup water and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer over moderate heat for 1½ hours, turning the pieces of meat often in the sauce and adding water whenever necessary.
  3. Separate the celery ribs, cut away the leaves, and wash well. With a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, scrape off the strings from the back of each rib. Cut lengthwise down the middle (if uncommonly large), and then crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Set the celery pieces aside.
  4. Scrape the carrots and cut into strips the same size as the celery.
  5. When the meat is almost tender, add the vegetables and more water, if necessary. Cover and continue cooking until the lamb and vegetables are almost done. The meat must be butter-soft, nearly falling off the bones.
  6. Meanwhile, quarter the preserved lemons and discard the pulp, if desired (I don’t). Rinse and stone the olives. Add both to the casserole for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Stir in the lemon juice.
  7. Place the lamb at the center of the serving dish. Arrange the celery and carrots around the edges of the dish and decorate with lemon quarters and olives.
  8. By boiling rapidly covered, reduce the sauce in the pain to a thick gravy, taste for salt, and pour over the lamb and vegetables. Serve at once.