← Back to Search Results
braising Middle Eastern
Roasted Shoulder of Lamb with Couscous and Date Stuffing Recipe-2572

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


Dala M’Aamra Bi Kesksou Wa Tmar

This is sumptuous and extremely easy. The meat is cooked very slowly for a long time until it is meltingly tender and you can pull the meat off the bones with your fingers. The stuffing—it is the traditional stuffing for a whole lamb—is sweet with dates and raisins and crunchy with almonds. (In Morocco, they add sugar or honey but that makes it too sweet for me.) The couscous needs plenty of butter as there is no sauce, but you can substitute oil if you prefer. Try to get the fine-ground variety of couscous called seffa, otherwise use the ordinary medium-ground one. For the dates, use the Tunisian Deglet Nour or Californian varieties that you can find in supermarkets. 

Yield: 4 to 5 servings


  • 1 shoulder of lamb (about 3 to 4½ pounds)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1¼ cups couscous
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 5 ounces (not quite 1 cup) dates, pitted and cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • ½ cup blanched almonds, chopped coarsely
  • 2/3 stick (5½ tablespoons) butter, cut into small pieces
  • To garnish:
  • 8 dates
  • 8 blanched almonds


Put the lamb skin side up in a baking dish or roasting pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in an oven preheated to 475°F for 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350°F and cook for 3 hours, until the skin is crisp and brown and the meat is juicy and meltingly tender. Pour off the fat after about 2 hours.

For the stuffing, put the couscous in another baking dish, and add the same volume of warm water, about 1¼ cups, mixed with a little salt, the orange blossom water, and cinnamon. Stir well so that the water is absorbed evenly. After about 10 minutes, add the oil, and rub the couscous between your hands to air it and break up any lumps. Mix in the remaining ingredients, apart from the butter, cover with foil, and put in the oven with the lamb for the last 20 minutes, or until it is steaming hot.

Before serving, stir in the butter so that it melts in and is absorbed evenly. With a fork, fluff up the couscous stuffing, breaking up any lumps. Add a little salt to taste, if necessary.

For the garnish, remove the pits from each date and replace them with the blanched almonds. Serve the meat with the couscous stuffing decorated with these dates.


A shoulder of spring lamb is always fatty but most of the fat melts away during the long cooking. If it appears too fatty, as might be the case with an older lamb, carefully remove some of the fat before cooking.

© 2005 Claudia Roden

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving, and is based on using a 3 pound shoulder of lamb. This recipe serves 5.

1336kcal (67%)
378mg (16%)
83g (128%)
34g (168%)
226mg (75%)
108mcg RAE (4%)
0mg (0%)
147mg (15%)
6mg (34%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

complete-book-of-indian-cooking-350-recipes-from-the-regions-of-india Complete Book of Indian Coo...
by Suneeta Vaswani
le-bernardin-cookbook Le Bernardin Cookbook
by Eric Ripert, Maguy Le Coze
good-to-the-grain Good to the Grain
by Kim Boyce
urban-italian-simple-recipes-and-true-stories-from-a-life-in-food Urban Italian: Simple Recip...
by Andrew Carmellini
allergy-free-desserts Allergy-Free Desserts
by Elizabeth Gordon
desserts-4-today Desserts 4 Today
by Abby Dodge
arthur-schwartzs-new-york-city-food Arthur Schwartz's New York ...
by Arthur Schwartz
baked-new-frontiers-in-baking Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito
david-rosengarten-entertains-fabulous-parties-for-food-lovers David Rosengarten Entertain...
by David Rosengarten
spice Spice
by Ana Sortun
ham-an-obsession-with-the-hindquarter Ham: An Obsession with the ...
by Bruce Weinstein, Mark Scarbrough
parents-need-to-eat-too Parents Need to Eat Too
by Debbie Koenig
the-lee-bros-southern-cookbook-stories-and-recipes-for-southerners-and-would-be-southerners The Lee Bros. Southern Cook...
by Ted Lee, Matt Lee

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?