Baked Tagine of Lamb with Apricots and Honey

, from Issue #24. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Baked Tagine of Lamb with Apricots and Honey

This is everything you want in a lamb dish – slow cooked to be meltingly tender and loaded with flavour. Perfect for a gathering. 

Serves: 8-10


1½–2-kilogram leg of lamb, French trimmed

4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
½–1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon each sweet smoked paprika and ground cumin
1 tablespoon each honey and olive oil

To cook
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large red onions, peeled and quartered through the root end
4 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon each ground turmeric, ginger and cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1½ cups beef stock
zest and juice 1 orange
100 grams dried apricots
1 tablespoon honey
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Marinade: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

Cut deep incisions in the lamb with a sharp knife. Push some of the marinade into the cuts and spread the rest all over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan, add the onions, carrots, garlic, spices and the bay leaves and cook for 10 minutes, adding a splash of water if the pan is too dry. Don’t let the spices catch and burn.

Add the stock and orange zest and juice. Season. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.

Tip into a large baking dish or a tagine. Place the lamb on top and cover first with a piece of baking paper then tightly with aluminium foil, ensuring there are no holes. The cooking juices will evaporate if there are any holes. Bake for 3–3 1⁄2 hours then uncover and stir in the apricots. Drizzle the honey over the lamb and place back in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the meat is very tender.