Lamb Stew with Almonds and Apricots

Sweet lamb stew with honey, almonds, and apricots. Traditional North African Mrouzia tagine.

  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder or neck, trimmed of fat and cut into 2 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried apricots, roughly chopped, or raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups almonds, whole and blanched
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped


1 Marinate lamb: In a bowl combine the ginger, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and water and mix well. Add the meat and rub in the paste, coating evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2 Cook onions with garlic and cinnamon: In a Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and cinnamon sticks and cook until the onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant.

3 Add meat, marinade, stock: Add the marinated meat (including the marinade) to the pot and then the chicken stock. Bring the stock to a boil, and skim off any scum that appears.

4 Simmer until tender: Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring from time to time. Add water if the pot becomes too dry. Stew until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours, more if needed.

5 Add apricots, almonds, honey, carrots: Add the apricots, almonds, honey, and carrots and simmer, uncovered, stirring often to prevent scorching, until the meat is very soft and almost falling apart, about 30 minutes longer.

The sauce should reduce to a syrupy glaze. At this point taste and add lemon juice to desired level. The lemon juice brings some balance to the sweetness from the honey and apricots.

Note: this recipe can be prepared in advance up to this point. Allow to cool, refrigerate and serve within a couple of days.

6 Serve: Stir in the chopped parsley and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Serve immediately with couscous or rice.

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  • Jay Osiris

    Can this dish be done in a slow cooker?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jay, I think you could do step 3 in a slow cooker.

      • Esme

        I did just that – put the stew in the crock pot set to high and ran errands for 3 hours. It was yummy!

  • denis gendron

    would be nice if you included nutrition values with the recipe! tasted great!

  • Abel rumph

    You did a great job rebalancing the ingredients in this recipe. I followed the recipe to the letter and it came out great! This is a keeper!


  • Shannan

    Made this last night. Used 3 lbs. lamb, but unsure if you really meant 2 (in comments and the picture). I really enjoyed the recipe combo of ingredients. Next time I might up the liquid and lower the amount of almonds. I kept bumping into them and it was a little distracting. Maybe I will grind the almonds into a paste and add it to the extra liq. I might add prunes too. Anyway, thank you. Next… chocolate and zucchini cake. YUM! (found you via a Chowhound member).

  • Candice

    Tried this for dinner tonight and it turned out great! Just be warned that it takes a long time to make and the suggestion to cut back on the honey is worth it – the stew was still very sweet even though I used 1/2 a lemon to temper the honey.
    Thanks Elise!


  • Nathan

    I made this recipe today with stew beef. It came out delicious! I used 5 lbs of chuck cubes and increased the other ingredients roughly proportionately. I lightly braised the beef in a hot wok after marinating and before adding to the stew. This gives a better texture to the meat. I also added salt to taste at the end–the recipe doesn’t mention salt.

    I used prunes instead of other dried fruit. Simmer times were quite a bit longer, maybe because of the increased size of the recipe.

    I was concerned it was going to be too thin, but with the honey and a long simmer at the end the sauce came out perfectly: thick and glossy and flavorful. Yum!

  • Katherine

    I found the liquid to be thinner than expected – maybe I should have cut it back on stock to begin with since I cut back on the butter by 1/3. The lamb itself was delicious and tender. All in all, an interesting and filling dish that was easy to make.

  • Jen C

    I just made this for company last night… heavenly. So easy for such a flavorful and complex taste. One note is that I found it took about an hour cooking with the lid off for the sauce to reduce enough. But boy was it worth the wait. Everyone cleaned their plates! Thanks, Elise!

  • Susan

    This looks so yummy! I’m thinking of trying it in a slow cooker for this weekend — any thoughts or tips?

  • Marti

    Hi there,

    I’ve been looking at your blog for a couple of months now and it’s always faboo!

    Quick question about this recipe: Do you think it would work as well using olive oil instead of butter and vegetable stock instead of chicken?