Lamb Tagine in a Roasted Whole Pumpkin

This beautifully spiced Moroccan lamb tagine stew stands on its own. But, for a show-stopping presentation, serve it in a whole pumpkin.

Look for a cooking pumpkin, which is smaller and has a thicker shell and tastier flesh than the jack-o’-lantern variety. Once you learn how to roast a whole pumpkin, you may use it as an edible bowl for other stews—chili, for example. As for the tagine, take care not to overcook the lean leg of lamb. It will not be stewed as long as tougher cuts.–Rick Rodgers

Lamb Tagine in a Roasted Whole Pumpkin Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • For the roasted pumpkin
  • One 4-pound cooking pumpkin, such as sugar or cheese pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the lamb tagine
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, well trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon harissa (see Note), or more to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • One 15- to 19-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • Hot cooked couscous, for serving


  • Cook the pumpkin
  • 1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
  • 2. Using a sturdy paring knife, cut into the pumpkin top around the stem to create a lid about 6 inches in diameter. Lift off the lid and set aside. Using a large metal spoon, scrape out the fibers and seeds from inside the pumpkin and discard them. (If you wish, remove the seeds from the fibers and reserve the seeds for roasting.) Season the inside of the pumpkin shell and lid with the salt and pepper. Return the lid to the pumpkin and place the pumpkin on the baking sheet. Bake until the inside of the pumpkin is tender when the interior flesh is scraped with a spoon (remove the lid to check), about 1 1/4 hours.
  • Make the lamb tagine
  • 3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the lamb with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In batches, add to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. (The lamb should be rare at this point.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a plate.
  • 4. Add the broth to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring to release the browned bits in the bottom of the pot. Pour the broth into a large glass measuring cup or heat-proof bowl. Transfer 1/2 cup of the broth to a sauceboat or small bowl and stir in the harissa to make a very spicy seasoning sauce for the finished tagine. Set the harissa sauce aside. Reserve the remaining broth.
  • 5. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the ginger, cinnamon, and crushed hot pepper and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, then the reserved chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Return the lamb and any collected juices to the pot, and stir in the garbanzo beans. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook just until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 6. To serve the lamb tagine, carefully transfer the roasted pumpkin to a serving platter. Remove the lid, ladle in the tagine, and replace the lid. (Do not worry if all of the tagine won’t fit into the pumpkin; just reserve it in a serving bowl.) Present the pumpkin at the table. Spoon the lamb tagine onto individual plates. When the tagine is served and the pumpkin is empty, cut the pumpkin into wedges and add to the plates. Serve the lamb tagine and pumpkin wedges immediately, with the couscous and harissa sauce passed on the side.


  • Harissa is a very hot chile paste available at Middle Eastern and Mediterranean grocers. To store it, transfer the harissa from its can to a small covered jar and refrigerate for up to 2 months. If you can’t find harissa, substitute Chinese chili paste with garlic, or even Tabasco.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these: