Tagine de Mouton

Slow-cooked lamb with figs, raisins and almonds



  • 4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¹⁄₄ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ¹⁄₄ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¹⁄₄ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large can pear tomatoes, drained & chopped chicken stock
  • ¹⁄₂ cup raisins, soaked in water
  • 5 ounces whole blanched almonds olive oil
  • 16 dried figs
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ¹⁄₂ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¹⁄₄ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons honey



1. Trim the lamb of excess fat and cut into large cubes
2. In a heavy, covered pan, slowly warm the spices in butter and olive oil
3. Coat the lamb in the spice mixture and continue to cook for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring now and then
4. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and enough stock to bring the liquid to a level no more than half that of the meat
5. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Then decrease to a bare simmer, and cook for 1¹⁄₂- 2 hours
6. Add the raisins, and continue to cook until lamb is very tender
7. Cool, cover, and refrigerate if you are not planning to serve within an hour, or so


Lightly brown almonds in a little olive oil. Set aside.


Bring chicken stock and spices to a boil. Add figs, and simmer, covered, until moist and tender.

To Serve:

Remove any solidified fat from the lamb, add honey and warm slowly. Add figs, and stir to coat. If sauce is too thin, let it reduce. Transfer to a warmed serving platter. Warm the almonds in a dry pan and scatter over the lamb and fruit. – MD

Recommended wines:

Spicy, ripe zinfandel.  Blasi Zinfandel or Dusi Ranch Zinfandel are perfect accompaniments.

Maureen Draper is a pianist and educator. She has published two books, The Nature of Music and The Music Lovers Anthology of Poetry. As the wife of winemaker Paul Draper she enjoys bringing people together over food, wine, and music.


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