Moroccan Goat Curry (Tagine Makfoul)

Tagine Makfoul is a traditional Moroccan curry made with goat or lamb. When my friends Brent and Heather of Virginia is for Hunter-Gatherers recently invited us over for dinner, promising some goat shoulder to accompany their excellent company, I knew that this recipe was the perfect choice; goat becomes tender after extended cooking, and serving it with makfoul (caramelized onion and tomatoes) adds a deliciously sweet and fresh dynamic to an already tasty dish.

This post is actually the second of a joint collaboration with Brent and Heather – be sure to check out another dish that we made on that same day, Tom Kha Gai, which is hosted on their wonderful site.

browning the goat shoulder

softening the onion before adding the shoulder

Moroccan Goat Curry (Tagine Makfoul)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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2 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 lbs whole goat shoulder (lamb okay)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt, more to taste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 pinch (10 strands) saffron
2 cups chicken broth
3 bay leaves
3 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp honey
fresh parsley to garnish

1. Heat the coconut oil in a tagine or dutch oven over med-high heat until shimmering, then add the goat shoulder. Brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, lowering the heat as needed to prevent burning. Set the shoulder aside, reduce the heat to medium, and add the chopped onion. Sauté until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic, ground seasonings, and saffron. Sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds, then stir in the chicken broth and add the bay leaves, cardamom, and cinnamon. Once everything is combined, add in the goat, bone-side down; bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat on low. Simmer for 2 hours, then flip the goat over and simmer for 1 more hour.

2. During the final hour of cooking, make your makfoul. In a large skillet, warm the olive oil on med-low heat for a minute, then add the sliced onion. Sauté until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Continue to sauté the onion and tomato until caramelized, stirring every 5 minutes. It’ll take a while, don’t rush it – I would expect it to take at least 45 minutes. Once it has caramelized to the texture you see below, stir in 1 tbsp of honey and reduce the heat to low to stay warm while you put the rest of the meal together.

3. When the goat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone, remove it from the tagine and set it on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. As the shoulder rests, fish the bay leaves cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick from the tagine; raise the tagine’s heat to medium and gently reduce the liquid by 1/3 to help concentrate the flavors, then return the heat to low. Once the goat has rested, remove the bones and cut up the meat into bite-sized pieces. Return the goat meat to the tagine, add salt to taste, and serve. When plating the curry, add a spoonful of the makfoul on top and garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with basmati rice or cauliflower rice if you’re inclined; otherwise, enjoy it as-is.

** As it stands, this recipe is slightly spicy – enough to feel it on your tongue and an excellent accompaniment to the sweet makfoul. To make it less spicy (say, if children are involved), reduce the cayenne to 1/4 tsp. To make it moderately spicy, increase the cayenne to 1 tsp. You can always add some cayenne near the end of cooking.

the makfoul, about 45 minutes into cooking.

37 thoughts on “Moroccan Goat Curry (Tagine Makfoul)

  1. Last weekend I saw goat meat for sale at the farmer’s market. I wondered how one would cook it. Thank you. Your posts are always welcome.


  2. I stumbled upon your blog the other day and loved it :) and then while I was at a bookstore here in Germany I saw your book and picked it up today! Im excited to try out some of your recipes from one paleo blogger to another.


  3. Thanks for this recipe! I fort get goat in my CSA box & it’s difficult to find recipes. Next time I get goat shoulder, I’m making this!


  4. I made this just the other week with some goat I found at the local Farmer’s market (I used a combination of back ribs and chops, because that’s what they had left when I got there). It was delicious! Now that the market is down for the season, I’m obsessing with where I can find more goat.


  5. I just made this recipe. Wow! It was wonderful! Delicious, slightly spicy but the Makfoul balances that out. I made a Moroccan spiced couscous to accompany it. I’m sure it would work perfectly with any protein but the goat turned out tender and flavorful. Thanks for posting it!


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