Lamb Marrakech

James Beard

Author and Educator

Summer nights call for satisfying exotic dishes. This savory Moroccan-inspired stew, perfect as the main dish of a buffet supper can be prepared in advance; only the garniture needs to be added at the last minute. Quatre épices is a spice found in French and Middle Eastern kitchens. The blend of four spices is typically used in soups, stews, and vegetable recipes.


  • Quatre Épices:

  • 1/4 cup ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Lamb Marrakech:

  • 7 pounds lean lamb, leg or shoulder, cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup peanut or olive oil
  • 4 large onions, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon quatre épices (recipe follows)
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 10 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 cups raisins soaked in sherry
  • 1 1/2 cup each toasted almonds and hazelnuts
  • Chopped parsley


To make the quatre épices combine the spices, and blend thoroughly. This recipe will make more than what is needed for the lamb Marrakech, so store in a sealed container and use in other French or Middle Eastern dishes.

For the lamb, brown in oil in a large skillet, and add onion and garlic to brown lightly. Add seasonings and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover, add a small amount of liquid if necessary, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or transfer to a casserole and place in a 350ºF oven uncovered, basting well from time to time till lamb is tender. If you put the lamb in the oven, you may have to add more liquid or cover the pan for half the time. Add the raisins toward the end of the cooking time and heat through.

Serve the lamb with a rice pilaf or couscous, and garnish with the toasted nuts and parsley.


12 servings