CrockPot Lamb, Olive, and Onion Tagine

Day 282.

I was given a copy of Nigella Lawson's "Nigella Express" last week, and have had fun flipping through it. One of the meals seemed quite easy to adapt to the crockpot, so I made it last night.

I was carded for the first time in way-too-many years, which was kind of fun (and embarrassing. I didn't have my ID with me because I walked, and there was a bit of awkward banter before the checker (who shared that she was 22) decided I was, in fact, old and decrepit.)

I found this neat blog while googling to see if there were reviews of this particular Nigella recipe.

The Ingredients.

--2 pounds lamb stew meat or leg of lamb cut in chunks
--1 head of garlic, peeled but intact cloves
--2 cans black olives, drained
--2 yellow onions, sliced in rings
--4 T capers (I thought this was too much. Start with 2.)
--2 tsp ground cumin
--1 tsp corriander
--1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
--1 750ml bottle of red wine
The Directions.

I used a 6 quart oval crockpot. It was pretty full, so I'd stick to a big guy for this dinner.

Cut the onions and put them into the bottom of your crockpot. Add the entire head of peeled garlic cloves. Drop in the lamb, and sprinkle the dried spices and ginger. Add the olives and capers. Pour in the wine.

Cover and cook on low for 8-12 hours. I cooked our stew for 4 hours on high, then another 8 on low. Stew meat tastes better the longer you cook it.

Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta, or quinoa. Nigella suggests couscous.

The Verdict.

I actually just ate this now, and it's 5am. I didn't get my act together in time yesterday to eat it for dinner (we ordered Chinese), and I wasn't pleased with how the meat was still tough at 6pm. I liked the flavor, but I wouldn't recommend having it with coffee.

I assume Adam will enjoy this for lunch, and the kids will eat some of the meat if I rinse off the sauce. The sauce is a bit strong, and the capers packed a pretty powerful punch.

Do you love this article?

Please share it with your friends!

Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at October 08, 2008

Sign up for the A Year of Slow Cooking newsletter and get the Top Ten Reader Favorite Recipes sent directly to your inbox!

What they say about this article

  1. Anonymous10/08/2008

    Am I right in assuming you live within walking distance of a Trader Joe's? If so, I'm INSANELY jealous.

  2. I know. We completely lucked out.

  3. So, no good? It sounds good, I really want to make this recipe. What do you think I could do to improve the results, cook it even longer?

  4. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I work in a restaurant where we have to card anyone under the age of 40, regardless of if they're regulars or anything. If they don't have their id, they don't get served. It's kind of silly, but we had a sting with the alcohol bureau last year and from then on we've had to do this. Our regulars don't mind, the people who come in like once every two weeks get really aggrivated. I think everyone should take it as a compliment!

  5. This was good, Billy. I just ate a bit more of it now.

    I think I may have smelled it too long (all day and overnight) to fully appreciate it---but now that I'm awake all the way and have gotten some fresh air, I'm happy with the result. I think I'd tread a bit lighter with the capers, however.


  6. I totally agree, Barrie. I was actually a bit surprised that she sold it to me---I was expecting to be turned away.


  7. Anonymous10/08/2008

    Coooollll...I found your blog recommended by a reader on allrecipes...Im always looking for new ways to make something in my crockpot. Thank you! Now let me try your recipessss!!!

  8. mmmmthis sounds yummy...I love Nigella and definitely want to try this recipe now that I can do it in a crock pot :). I can definitely see where a whole bottle of wine might be too much, and like your suggesting of cutting it back w/ broth. I might just skip the capers all together...not sure how critical they are. Do you think that would change the flavor too much?

  9. Blame it on the Two Buck Chuck? It's not like that nice St. Supery you used with the halibut.

  10. oooohhh a new contest, I would love to when this one because my crockpot just went kaput this mornign I was plugging it in to make your turkey one, and nope nothing no light nothing a hour later no heat nothing, so until I can get a new one or win this one I am just reading
    this looks wonderful though

  11. This one doesn't look that great but i love the rest of your crock pots rock

  12. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I'd love to win that new crockpot I've been trying some of your recipes and sending them to my grandma and mother we all love trying out new things in our crockpots thanks for the great ideas!

  13. I've been reading your crock pot posts now for about 2 months. You are a brave gal. What will you do next year as an encore? A free crock pot would be wonderful!

  14. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I would LOVE to win a crockpot! My family is soooo busy with kids from 3 years to 15!!! Crockpot cooking is the best way for us to eat healthy and inexpensive. Thanks so much!

  15. Your blog has been an absolute joy to my life. My hubby is in Afghanistan right now, and with hardly any time to prepare dinner. My three children have been forced to eat PBJ's, oatmeal and egg sandwiches all too frequently. I found your blog about 6 weeks ago and my kiddos are looking forward to meal times now! :) I have used my crockpot so much that the handle broke...probabally from the heat!? Still works though. My favorie was your squash soup - yummy!! Thanks to you and your family for all of your hard work in testing out all of these recipes for the rest of us!! BTW, I LOVE your sense of humor...sometimes I need that!!
    Happy Crockpotting! :)

  16. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I have never offered lamb to my children or hubby before. Do you have any ideas to make this into a real family loving meal? Lower the # of capers and add the grape juice instead of the wine(we have wild grapes that I need to juice). Any other ideas? Can't wait to try more of your recipes. Would love a new crock-have been pricing them!!

  17. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I love your recipes and the adventure you put in to trying new things. Would love to have a new crockpot.. I'm still using the old, old kind. *sigh* But your wonderful recipes still turn out good .. I think it's your recipes.. not the crockpot though.. LOL

  18. Anything in the crockpot goes well with the boxed wine I'm forcing myself to imbibe for 365 days. Can't wait to do the shrinky dinks, and planning to make carmel apples this Friday during the high school tailgate festivities. BTW, my all time fav is the foot bath. Love your blog!!

  19. How great to get another Lamb recipe. I found your site just last week while using Google to find a Lamb Chops recipe. I have a husband who can't get enough... lamb that is :) I look forward to getting your ideas in my email each day! I bet the Lamb will taste even better in that new crock pot you're going to send me :)

  20. First Id like to thank you for the time you take in posting. Now I need a crock pot (how lucky am I to enter a contest)

    Now this sounds good, but I'm not a Lamb lover, do you think pork
    would work or beek, heck maybe even chicken?

    I also like that you take pictures of everything.

    Keep up the good work, well you do this for another year??

    I want to also try the carmel apples, I think it would be less mess, the on the stove.

    Thank you
    Vickie J
    vjunger@yahoo dot come

  21. Anonymous10/08/2008

    Love the blog! It's so great to not only have crockpot recipes, but gluten-free ones at that! Makes my life SO much simpler to not have to worry with substitutions in recipes and to get your feedback on how it turned out!

    As for a contest, I'm ALL FOR A NEW CROCKPOT!!! My current one is a hinged one... though with a broken hinge and 2 broken handles! I agree with ya - not so sure that I like the hinge, but since it got broken the 3rd time we used it, I don't know that I gave it a fair shot! LOL Don't think the hinges were made that great, but maybe my crew is just too rough on things...


  22. Anonymous10/08/2008

    This crockpot looks awesome! I could use it to cook for my grandchildren when they come over. I have 3, and #4 is due any minute! Thank you for your daily column. It's lots of fun.

  23. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I'd like to be in on the crockpot give-away too! It looks sooo nice compared to my ancient one! I look forward to checking your daily recipes!

  24. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I've never even tried lamb. Guess now's a good time. I love your contests. Thanks

  25. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I'm new at this "post" stuff. Yes, I'll try lamb - in that new crockpot.


  26. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I really enjoy your blog and I'd love to win a new crockpot! My old one has a plastic lid and the center knob/handle came out and I taped it back on with clear packing tape. Thanks for the great recipes!

  27. Anonymous10/08/2008

    Ok, this is like the best day ever on your blog - crockpot give away and a Nigella recipe and a link to the Nigella Express blog.

  28. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I love your recipes but I am fighting to get my crockpot back from my fancy new electronic one would sure come in handy....

  29. Anonymous10/08/2008

    I would love to win the crockPot so that I can try out some of the delicious recipies that you have shared on your blog....they all look so good, but I can't try them till I get a crockpot! Thanks for trying all these recepies and giving us the verdicts...that is what really counts when cooking new recepies for your family

  30. Great if I could just win the crockpot to try some of them out!! Thanks for such a great Blog!!!

  31. I just discovered your blog the other day and am super excited about it! I have a little wee crock pot but this eLume one sounds awesome!

    my email address is scmcmillan at gmail dot com

    Thanks steph!

  32. Sounds interesting. I have yet to venture out to the chicken/pork/beef world in my crock pot. Something to think about as I love lamb.

  33. With the lamb and olives you might have been better off on high and pulled it after two hours. I think olives can get pretty strong. That being said we love lamb and I just made Irish stew in my crock that is still being talked about. But I could have done so much better with a larger one - (wink wink nudge nudge) Your site and the escalating electric bills have been an inspiration to me and my crockpot has been standing duty weekly.

  34. I love the idea of cooking Lamb - especially in the C.P., but I am afraid that it is something my children won't go you tell your kids that they are eating lamb, or do you call it something else??

  35. Anonymous10/09/2008

    I jsut heard about this site - fantastic! Thanks for all your hard work

  36. Winner...Winner...CrockPot Dinner! We're not lamb eaters, but your cp fried rice and the recently posted cp apple butter were winners in our household. Always look forward to the late evening emails of your receipes.

  37. I only recently discovered this blog but I'm thrilled as we are trying to use the crockpot more. It's awfully nice when dinner is ready when one gets in the door! I've noticed a crack in my CP liner so a new one would be MOST appreciated.

  38. Anonymous10/09/2008

    This looks and sounds so good, its going on the menu for next week. I think I will use chicken broth instead. I have fallen in love with your website. This is an answer to prayer as I have four kids and just started homeschooling my 10 year old through a charter school. The crockpot is my new answer to dinner. I let my 10 year old cook as part of his schooling and now we can fix it and forget it in a more tasty way. Your website is better than any cookbook but its your sense of humor even above the tasty dishes that I like most. It makes you real and part of my world. Just wish you were my neighbor so I could walk to TJ's too.

  39. I'm making this tonight! Oh, pick me! Pick me! Pick me! We just moved and the lid on one of my crockpots was broken beyond repair (however, using foil until I can get a replacement lid, seems to do the trick too!).
    Wonder if I could use stew meat if lamb is too expensive for my budget? I'll try it and see!
    Crock on!

  40. Anonymous10/09/2008

    I want a free crockpot please

  41. Anonymous10/09/2008

    I want a free crockpot

  42. Anonymous10/09/2008

    So bummed this didn't turn out better for you! It looks delicious!


  43. Who knew crock pottin' was so cool? sign me up for the free one I could sure use an upgrade!

    swhite_ca AT yahoo DOT COM

  44. Anonymous10/09/2008

    This looks pretty good-might try it with beef since the kids & hubby aren't big lamb fans. Thanks for keeping up with your 365 day crockpot challenge!

  45. I love your blog and I really hope you continue into 2009. I'd love to win a new crockpot

  46. Anonymous10/10/2008

    Sounds so great! I love lamb!!
    Can't wait to try this dish this weekend.

  47. Anonymous10/10/2008

    I am looking to buy a new crockpot. I have a Rival Smart Pot. The handle broke and it cooks too hot so I splurged and bought the digital All Clad. The inner pot broke and I had to pay $60 to replace it. After I did that the electrical stopped working so I am done with that. I am really frustrated. Any suggestions?

  48. Anonymous10/10/2008

    Sounds like another great recipe! I can't wait to try it. With four daughters and a full time job, I use my crock pot very often - and I'm always on the look out for a newer, better one. I found your site about a month ago, and I'm really enjoying my subscription, I love finding new recipes in my email each day! Keep up the good work!

  49. I tried this with beef. It is weird. Onions, garlic, olives, sounds like a great combo, but it just doesn't come together right. Generously salting it at the table helped a bit (and we don't usually salt food at the table).

  50. I tried this recipe yesterday and it was wonderful! My husband and at loved it. Thanks so much!

  51. Some of you indicate you don't like the smell of lamb. It does have a distinctive odor but so does fish. You will get past this if you give lamb a chance. It's considered one on the cleanest red meats.

    I grew up having lamb fixed different ways (1/2 Armenian), but husband didn't have lamb until we married and then only wanted Shish Kabob. He now loves lamb - all cuts.

    I purchased a boneless leg of lamb and roasted 1/2 the other night which was delicious. A couple days later I made a lamb stew with the remainder.

    Dredged the small cubed lamb in seasoned flour & browned in skillet. In crock pot put chopped stewed tomatoes with juice in bottom. Added some chunked potatoes & carrots on top. Put browned lamb on top, back in skillet I sauted chopped onions, garlic, red & orange peppers, sliced onion, celery, mushrooms, & chopped parsley. That went in over lamb, added chicken broth, sliced olives, some rinsed pearl barley (to help thicken), and topped it off with more chopped stewed tomatoes w/juice. Cooked on high @ 6 hours then on low for a couple more. Green salad & crusty french bread and I had a meal that my hubby and our friends loved. Hearty, satisfying & good.

    Lamb shanks are also great in the crock pot.

    Stick to USA or Australian spring lamb otherwise you might get older lamb which is more like mutton = tougher and frequently a stronger odor.

    Good luck - experiment with lamb - think you'll like it. And no, we don't raise lamb.

  52. Anonymous9/05/2009

    I made this dish last night. All the comments/reviews I read either said "weird" or "bland." I thought I would see what I could do, because this recipe really looked good.

    I have a 5 quart slow cooker, so the first thing I did was reduce the meat to somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds. I cut this amount from a boneless leg of lamb, and cut it into about 1 inch squares.

    The rest of the ingredients:
    2 red onions
    1 whole bulb garlic, peeled
    2 TB capers, drained
    400 ml Pinot Noir
    300 ml sour grape juice (unsweetened grape juice would probably be fine)
    2 canned black olives, drained
    2 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp ground coriander
    1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
    2 tsp kosher salt
    a couple of dashes of finely ground pepper.

    Assemble as per your recipe.

    My lamb was tender after 2 hours on high and 5 1/2 hours on low. One of our household had to eat at that point, and pronounced it good(he'd remove the olives because he doesn't like them, but that's him); the stew happily sat for another 1 1/2 hours on low until the rest of us wanted to eat.

    I served it with a combination of basmati rice and quinoa, and peas on the side.

    We really liked it. It's definitely different tasting, but in our household, that's a good thing. We also found it very warming.

    What I would change next time:
    Add 1 more TB capers (one of us REALLY likes capers)
    Reduce the grape juice to 200 ml. There was a little too much juice flavor, and my crockpot seals really well, so I don't need the extra liquid. As it was, I had to thicken a bit with arrowroot starch.

    Thanks again for the inspiration!


  53. My boys have only ever had lamb once before and weren't crazy about it.

    However, I had some sale-priced lamb chops in the freezer and when I browsed through your index had all the ingredients on hand for this recipe and thought I'd give it a whirl.

    I served it over some cauliflower 'mashed potatoes' went together SO WELL. It was DELICIOUS!

    I didn't tell the kids what they had eaten until they had practically licked their plates clean, and when polled, everyone said they'd like that meal again.

    Thanks for the fabbo recipe!