What’s cooking today: Lamb and date tagine with spiced glazed carrots

Lamb and date tagine. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Fruit and spices are what tagine cooking is all about. Lamb is the perfect meat for it, and given plenty of time you will turn out an aromatic dish which will be a good match for the honey-glazed carrots recipe below.

I adapted this recipe from a similar one for a chicken and date tagine I published recently. Key changes include use of beef rather than chicken stock, red onions instead of baby onions, and a side dish of carrots glazed in honey, green fig preserve syrup and spices and finished with mint and feta. The carrot recipe is a popular side dish in Moroccan cuisine, but the inclusion of green fig preserve syrup is my twist. The syrup in any jar of preserved fruit is an ingredient in its own right; pour it over ice cream, flavour custard with it, add a little to a stew or soup.

I  started with a whole (not too large) leg of lamb and deboned it myself. It’s important to cut away all of the skin and fat in this instance, even though if I were roasting a whole leg I would certainly want the fat to stay on and become crunchy and delicious while roasting. You can keep the bones and trimmings, frozen, until you need to make lamb stock in future. That can then be frozen too. Or ask your butcher to debone a leg for you.

(Serves 4 to 6)

1 kg lean lamb leg meat, cubed

2 red onions, cut into 6 to 8 wedges

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 x 2 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 scant tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 Tbsp flour or cornflour

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

2 cups beef stock

250 g pitted dates

1 x 400 g can chopped peeled tomatoes

2 Tbsp honey

Salt and black pepper to taste

100 g almonds flakes, toasted, for garnish

Mint leaves for garnish


Mix the dry ground spices and the flour or cornflour in a bowl and coat the lamb cubes in it.

Heat the oil in a tagine and fry the cubes of lamb in batches until well browned on all sides. Don’t let the pieces touch one another or they will stew.

Remove to a side dish and fry the onions for three or four minutes, then return the browned lamb pieces to the tagine and add any remaining spice-flour mixture, the garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, can of chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, and the honey. Pour in the beef stock and stir.

Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook on a very low heat for about two-and-a-quarter hours or until the pieces of meat are tender but not disintegrating.

Remove the lid and add the dates. Cook gently for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the almond flakes in a dry pan until they turn a slightly darker hue, just 2 or 3 minutes, tossing the pan, and chop the mint leaves. Serve with couscous prepared according to the packet instructions, scatter the toasted almond flakes on top and garnish with mint. 

Honey-roasted carrots

Carrots glazed with honey, green fig preserve and spices. (Photo: Tony Jackman)


4 or 5 carrots, halved lengthwise, not peeled

A sprinkling each of ground cinnamon, coriander and ginger and black cumin seeds (nigella)

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp of the syrup from a jar of green fig preserve

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and black pepper

1 round of Dalewood Fromage full cream Jersey feta, chopped finely or crumbled (or other feta).

Mint leaves, chopped


Lay the halved strips of carrot in an oiled baking tray. Sprinkle the three spices and the nigella seeds over them. Heat the honey and preserve syrup together and pour it over the carrots. Season with salt and black pepper.

Roast in a preheated 200℃ oven until the carrots are just tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Serve garnished with chopped feta and mint. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion, 2021, for his food writing. His book, foodSTUFF, is now available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.

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Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.


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