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Persian lamb couscous recipe

Persian lamb couscous recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Pasta types
  • Couscous

Chunks of lean lamb are gently simmered with dates in a richly spiced gravy, then piled atop couscous and pistachio nuts, and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Serve this exotic dish for a special family meal or a make-ahead dish for entertaining, accompanied by some Arabic flat bread and a simple leafy green salad.

76 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 340 g (12 oz) boneless lean leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 100 g (3½ oz) stoned dates, sliced
  • 600 ml (1 pint) lamb stock, preferably home-made
  • salt and pepper
  • seeds of 1 small pomegranate to garnish
  • Pistachio couscous
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) lamb stock, preferably home-made
  • 400 g (14 oz) couscous
  • 15 g (1/2 oz) fresh coriander, chopped
  • 25 g (scant 1 oz) pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:1hr15min ›Ready in:1hr35min

  1. Heat a large non-stick saucepan and fry the cubes of lamb, in batches, until browned all over. Lift from the pan with a draining spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the oil to the pan, then add the garlic, ginger, onions and chilli. Fry, stirring frequently, over a low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Return the lamb to the pan, together with the saffron, ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and paprika. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring well, then add the dates and stock. Season to taste. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the lamb is tender.
  4. About 15 minutes before the lamb is ready, prepare the couscous. Heat the stock until boiling, then add the couscous and return to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover tightly and set aside to soak for 10 minutes.
  5. Fork the couscous through lightly to fluff up the grains, then toss in the coriander and pistachios and pile onto a warmed large serving platter. Spoon the lamb on top of the couscous, sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.

Some more ideas

If you want to get ahead, you can cook this dish up to the end of step 3 the day before, then let it cool and keep it in a covered bowl in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, reheat the lamb while the couscous is soaking in step 4, making sure it is piping hot and bubbling. * For a more peppery flavour, instead of coriander toss chopped rocket or watercress with the couscous.

Plus points

Pomegranate seeds make a very pretty garnish for sweet or savoury dishes, and they are deliciously sweet and tart all at once. In addition they contribute vitamin C and fibre, so all the more reason for using them often.

Each serving provides

B1, B6, B12, E, niacin, iron * B2, C, zinc * A, folate

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(6)

Reviews in English (6)

This recipe was delicious. I made this in Slow cooker and purchased leg of lamb and cut off the meat I needed. Added extra chillis and also a pinch of ground cardamon. Cooked on low for 7 hrs and presented it as per recipe on serving dish with the pomegranite seeds sprinkled over. Also did some steamed pumpkin, green beans and sugar snap peas.Will definitely be making this again. We had gone to a restaurant and had this meal and I googled it and found this recipe. Husband said it was better then the restaurant one!-13 Apr 2010

Absolutely delicious. I only used half the chilli and ommitted the paprika so the whole family could enjoy (including children aged 2 and 4). They loved it! The sauce has a real warmth and depth of flavour - so easy to make.-03 Jan 2012

This was resplendent! I forgot to buy dates cos my memory is dreadful so I had to use some raisins instead... which were OK actually, and the spices mixed with the lamb flavours were a dream. Definitely give this a go if you're looking for something different than the norm. Can be a little spicy with both paprika and chillis though, so I would advise going easy on the paprika if you're not a fan of spicy food!-07 Sep 2015

1. Toast the coriander and fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat until aromatic. Use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to grind to a powder.

2. Heat the butter in a flameproof casserole over medium-low heat, add the ground coriander and fennel, ginger and cayenne pepper and stir. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute just to coat them in the butter mixture. Season the lamb shanks with sea salt and add to the casserole, turning them to coat in the butter.

3. Add the chicken stock and cinnamon stick, increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to low so that the liquid gently simmers (you may need to use a simmer mat). Cook for 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, boil the couscous in salted boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.

5. Remove the lid and turn the shanks so that they cook evenly. Add the couscous and dates, ensuring that the couscous is covered by the liquid. Cover and cook for 1 hour or until the lamb shanks and couscous are tender. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to rest while you prepare the garnish.

6. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate and set aside 1/3 cup of the seeds. Place the remaining seeds in a fine sieve over a bowl and use the back of a large kitchen spoon to extract the juice from the seeds.

7. Remove the shanks from the casserole. Stir through the honey and add 2 tablespoons of the pomegranate juice. Taste for seasoning, adding sea salt if desired.

8. Spoon the couscous into shallow bowls and place the beans and lamb shanks on top. Garnish with the preserved lemon, parsley and pomegranate seeds.


I promised easy, and easy you shall get. There’s nothing tricky in the steps and nor are there any hard to find ingredients in this, you’ll find everything at everyday supermarkets.

The only step below you might be wondering about is step 5 where the liquid is covered with parchment/baking paper. This is called a cartouche and it’s a cheffy technique of using paper as a lid for slow cooked recipes.

Like a lid, it slows down the rate of liquid evaporation but in addition to this, it encourages the even distribution of heat and stops a skin forming on the surface. It’s used commonly in some cuisines – including Japanese cooking!

It’s an optional step in this recipe that I recommend only if the liquid level doesn’t cover the lamb shanks.

Jeweled Couscous Salad Recipe

Culinary authority Ghillie James’ new book, Amazing Grains, is full of sweet and savory recipes for any meal of the day. Learning how to work with a variety of grains — and there are a lot — will expand your cooking repertoire without breaking the bank. Make this couscous salad as a side to your favorite roasted or grilled protein.

This recipe is an adaptation of the classic Persian jeweled rice, traditionally served at weddings and other celebrations, and usually containing pomegranates, herbs and nuts for color and texture. This couscous recipe follows the same lines. In this salad, the jewels are the nuts, carrots, cucumber and pomegranate seeds. Don’t worry if one element is missing — for example, you can swap the pomegranate for dried apricot, the cucumber for blanched chopped green beans or the pine nuts for flaked almonds or pistachios. Just make it colorful! Treat yourself to a delicious cooked food and try your luck on the website of the Austrian quiz online casino österreich.

Making Real Moroccan Couscous


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

This was my first time attempting couscous at home. Thank for the painstaking details: the results were well worth the effort. Due to a lack of time, I made two shortcuts: I skipped the homemade harissa for store-bought, and I didn't attempt steaming the couscous grains. Rather, I simply poured 3 tbsp amounts of the hot, seasoned water to the couscous grains (which I had first rubbed with the olive oil). After each addition of water, I rubbed the grains until the water had been absorbed. After 3 rounds, the couscous was ready. I'm not sure this will work for everyone, but the results were far better than the quick cooking method I've relied on in the past. Many thanks again for sharing this gem of a recipe!

First time I have made traditional couscous - my French friend gave me some meat after they slaughtered a lamb and she'd written 'couscous' on the bag. In fact when she said "I've got some couscous in the freezer for you" I thought she was giving me a ready meal LOL I had no idea what I was letting myself in for when I said I'll find a recipe on the web and why don't you join us?Thank you for posting this recipe!! Not as complicated as it first appears especially if you print it out and laminate it. The evening was a total success thanks to this recipe. The flavours are wonderful, very complex and interesting. The couscous was sooooo much better cooked this way.Many thanks

Absolutely wonderful. A lot of work (as he mentions in the article). I have made this recipe several times over the past few years. Very good this time of year (autumn/winter). Definitely something to enjoy with friends and/or family.


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Stewing lamb: you can use various cuts of lamb suitable for long, slow cooking such as diced shoulder, neck fillet, shank or breast. Mutton meat (from an older lamb) can also be used but will have a stronger flavour. Diced beef and even pork would also work well in this dish. More Instant Pot lamb recipes to inspire you here.

Spices: Moroccan recipes use a lot of spices, which is how you get those amazing tagline flavours, but if you don’t have all of them on hand and you don’t want to stock up your pantry with too many new jars, then feel free to buy a pre-mixed Moroccan spice blend like this one, and use 2-3 tablespoons instead. Dried apricots will still need to be added. For a Whole30 recipe, replace the dried fruit with diced 4-5 fresh apricots instead.

Vegetables: you can use pumpkin, sweet potato or other root vegetables instead of the white potatoes (especially if you want to avoid the white spuds for dietary reasons).

Garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro/coriander and scallions/green onions (both optional)

Recipe Summary

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • ¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
  • ½ teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups hot chicken broth

Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil over lamb shanks and cover with salt.

Mix turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cumin, and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over lamb shanks. Let lamb shanks marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot. Cook and stir onion until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in garlic cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Whisk hot water, lime juice, rose water, and saffron together in a small bowl. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook lamb shanks in batches until browned, 5 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb shanks to a plate.

Whisk wine into the pot, scraping any browned bits off the bottom. Add onion and garlic mixture, steeped saffron mixture, parsley, thyme, lime zest, and bay leaves. Return lamb shanks to the pot. Cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until lamb shanks are tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

Uncover pot and simmer until broth reduces slightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer lamb shanks to an oven-safe dish.

Place lamb shanks in the preheated oven to keep warm.

Bring broth to a boil simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Spoon broth over lamb shanks.

Simple Persian-style lamb stew

This Persian-inspired lamb stew is really simple and makes for a delicious, warming midweek meal for the family. The pomegranate seeds and mint give it a lovely, fresh flavour. If there are only two of you, freeze the rest.

Published: February 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Try this Persian lamb stew, then check out our vegetarian stew.


  • lamb leg steaks or neck fillet 750g, cut into chunks
  • onions 2, chopped
  • cinnamon 2 tsp
  • ground cumin 1 tsp
  • cardamom seeds from 3 pods, crushed
  • paprika 1 tsp
  • chicken stock 500ml
  • tomato purée 1 tbsp
  • dates 100g, quartered
  • cooked basmati rice or couscous to serve
  • pomegranate seeds to serve
  • mint leaves to serve


Brown the lamb all over in a little oil, then add the onions and cook until golden and soft. Stir in all the spices and cook for a minute, then add the stock, purée, and dates. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender. Serve with basmati rice, and scatter over the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.

Persian lamb tagine

Discard the cinnamon sticks and freeze the cooked tagine – before adding the coriander – in two large foil dishes or a freezer-proof container for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw the tagine overnight in the fridge. Reheat in a lidded casserole dish in the oven at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 for 45 mins or until piping hot throughout.


Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Trim the lamb of any hard fat, cut into chunks and season all over. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the lamb in 3-4 batches over a high heat for 1-2 mins until lightly coloured. Add 1 tbsp more oil between each batch and transfer to a bowl each time a batch is browned.

Heat the remaining oil in the same dish over a medium heat and fry the onions for 5 mins or until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, 1 tsp ground black pepper and 1 tsp flaked sea salt. Cook for 1 min, stirring. Return the lamb to the dish and add 1.5 litres of water, the saffron, cinnamon and lemons. Bring to a simmer, stirring a few times. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hr.

Carefully remove the dish from the oven and stir in the apricots, dates and half the pistachios, then cover once more and return to the oven. Cook for a further 30 mins or until the lamb is very tender.

Transfer the dish to the hob and adjust the seasoning to taste. Mix the cornflour with the rosewater and 3 tbsp cold water, then stir into the tagine. Cook over a medium heat for 1-2 mins or until the sauce thickens. (Thickening the sauce with cornflour isn’t traditional but helps the tagine to freeze more successfully.) When ready to serve, roughly chop the remaining nuts and sprinkle over the top. Garnish with coriander and serve with couscous or rice.

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