An exotically spiced Moroccan Lamb Stew is easy to make at home with no special ingredients. This easy Moroccan lamb recipe, with apricots, almonds, and raisins sits on top of a bed of pearl couscous, tossed with cilantro and mint. Made in a pressure cooker, this stew is perfect for using up leftover lamb!
*this post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a commission off of any products purchased through those links at no extra cost to you.*
Remember when I made a roasted leg of lamb? Yeah, it made a ton! Which is great if you’re planning on having guests over; for my little family though, it was a bit more than what we could eat in a reasonable amount of time. So I threw the roast in my freezer and waited for the perfect opportunity to create something truly astounding from it! Finally, the idea came to me to create a Moroccan lamb stew!
I just got an Instant Pot for Christmas and I thought that this would be the perfect way to create a Moroccan stew. Typically, Moroccan stews are created in what’s called a tagine. Tagines are these clay pots that have a coned top and are excellent for cooking succulent stews in. Here’s why.
When the liquid inside the tagine begins to get hot and boil, it creates condensation which travels up to the top of the cone lid. The liquid gets trapped inside and creates droplets, the droplets then fall down back into the stew, keeping everything super moist and flavorful! Genius, right?!
The same basic idea happens in a pressure cooker but now the pressure is added which decreases the cook time. (For instructions to create this same recipe in a slow cooker, be sure to read the Recipe Notes at the end of the recipe). Everything still stays moist and the flavor all stays inside, it’s a perfect substitute for a traditional Moroccan tagine.
How to Make Lamb Stew: Moroccan Style
When creating an ethnic dish, I’m always doing a ton of research so that I can be as authentic and true-to-form as possible. I talked about combining ingredients to create regional cuisines in this post (super helpful, I would totally read it!) and Moroccan dishes are no different. To really see what flavors are traditionally found in Moroccan cuisines, I turned to the trusted Google and to The Flavor Bible! I wrote out a list of spices that would go well together and with lamb! Here’s the jist of what I wrote and this will totally help you with brainstorming for other regional cuisines:
- Apricots, Raisins, Figs
- Bell peppers
- Cilantro, Mint
- Spices like: Cinnamon, Cumin, Paprika, Turmeric, Ginger
Of course, there’s a ton of other foods and spices that go into Moroccan cooking but these were the main ones. After writing out this list, I found that I basically had my recipe written for me! It was just a matter of putting it together. For other great tips to create creative recipes like a chef, sign up for my 7 Simple Hacks email series!
I felt like this stew would be a fantastic leftover lamb recipe (another happens to be this killer Leftover Lamb Sandwich)! So in my recipe, the lamb is already precooked to a perfect medium rare. If you’re using raw lamb, which is totally fine, I would just increase the cooking time of the pressure cooker to about 20 instead of the 6 minutes with my precooked lamb. Even with the lamb being cooked once already, I feel like being cooked in the pressure cooker didn’t make it tough or chewy at all! This truly is an awesome leftover lamb recipe!
To start off the stew, I just sautéed the onions, garlic, and bell pepper. That really helped to jump-start the flavor and keep the texture I wanted in my veggies instead of it all just being mush. I then added the lamb and tossed that around for a bit.
To get my spices incorporated evenly, I whisked it in with my liquid which was a combination of chicken stock and pomegranate molasses. Pomegranate molasses?! That wasn’t on your list of Moroccan flavors. I know… but I had some leftover from these awesome Turkey Meatballs with Pomegranate Sauce and I needed to use it up. So, I legit Googled if pomegranates were found in Morocco… and they are. So there you have it! I find that the pomegranate molasses brings a nice tang to the lamb stew! Balances everything out so nicely.
I added my dried apricots and raisins because I like them plump! Then I put on the lid and set the timer and let that baby rock and roll! Once the stew was done the cooking, I released the stew and took a good whiff! Oh my… you’re going to thank me when you make this!
To finish off the stew, I added my herbs and almonds! The almonds bring a nice texture to the stew, as well as some earthy tones that complement the sweet fruit and the lamb really well! But that’s not all! The thing that was going to tie this Moroccan lamb stew together was some herbed pearl couscous (or Israeli couscous)
How to Cook Israeli Couscous
First, I feel like I need to explain the difference between pearl (Israeli) couscous and Mediterranean couscous. Both of them are types of pasta but that’s about it for similarities. Pearl couscous looks like this:
Mediterranean couscous looks like this:
I will admit that this Moroccan lamb stew would be amazing with this Easter Mediterranean Couscous Salad… just saying…
Secondly, they both cook very differently. Mediterranean couscous can be cooked with steeping the pasta in boiling, salted water for about 5 minutes and then fluffed with a fork. Super easy to do.
Cooking Israeli couscous is much different. In fact, it’s very much like cooking other pasta. You boil the couscous in salted water until it’s almost double in size, about 5 minutes, and then you drain the water. The pearl couscous only absorbs some of the water, instead of completely absorbing the water like Mediterranean couscous does. Simple enough right?!
Moroccan Lamb Stew with Herbed Pearl Couscous
To tie both of these separate dishes together, I decided to add chopped cilantro and mint to the couscous. I was already throwing them into the lamb recipe, so why not in my couscous. The result is a fresh tasting couscous that’s in complete harmony with this super easy Moroccan lamb stew.
As you can see, cooking regional dishes is super easy to do! Again, I highly recommend using The Flavor Bible when learning about regional flavors because it has everything in there! Also, here is the link again for the post on using ingredients to create regional dishes.
If you have enjoyed this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases
- 2 pounds lamb, cubed into bite sized pieces
- ½ yellow onion, cut into large bite sized chunks
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into large bite sized pieces
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ounces dried apricots, sliced into thirds
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup pomegranate molasses
- 1 ½ cup chicken stock, can substitute for vegetable stock
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- Sachet of 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, bunch of cilantro stems
- I bunch cilantro, rough chopped
- ¾ ounce mint, rough chopped
- 1/3 cup toasted almonds, slivered
- ½ cup couscous
- Set Instant Pot to Saute setting and heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add chunked lamb pieces to the Instant Pot and stir around until well coated. Next add liquid and spices, dried fruit and sachet. Stir around so that nothing is sitting out of the liquid.
- Place lid on top of the Instant Pot and set the pot to Meat/Stew setting and set timer for 6 minutes (if using precooked lamb. If using raw lamb, set timer for 20 minutes). Allow the stew to cook until timer goes off. Release pressure and remove lid once steam has fully escaped.
- While stew is cooking, bring a medium-sized pot to boil and salt well. Put couscous in water and boil for about 5 minutes. Drain water and toss with some olive oil to prevent pearl couscous from sticking. Set aside while stew finishes cooking.
- Toss in almonds and half of the herbs. Stir to fully mix. Toss other half of herbs in couscous and mix well.
- To serve, place a bed of couscous on the bottom of the plate and top with stew.
For slow cooker, brown the lamb in a cast iron skillet and drain. Place all of the ingredients, except for herbs and almonds into the slow cooker. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6 hours. Finish stew with almonds and herbs.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size people
Amount Per ServingCalories 502Saturated Fat 11gCholesterol 84mgSodium 143mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 2gSugar 18gProtein 22g