Spicy Moroccan Lamb, Slow Cooker; poisson d’avril

If I had pieces of lamb I would have done this in the tagine, but as I had this strange, tied lamb roast I decided to try it in the slow cooker.

I actually untied the roast, planning on cutting it into pieces, but when I unrolled it and looked I changed my mind.I rolled it back up, retied it and got out the slow cooker.

We were most pleased.

The lamb was very tender and nicely spiced.

Spicy Moroccan Lamb, Slow Cooker

Total time: 8 hours


  • 2lb (1000gr) lamb roast
  • 6 shallots, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground celery seed
  • 2 bay (laurel) leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) red wine
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, pulp chopped, rind sliverd
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 3 tbs water

lSpicy Moroccan Lamb, Slow Cooker


  • Heat 1 tbs oil in a large skillet. Add lamb and brown on all sides.  Remove to slow cooker.
  • Add remaining 1 tbs oil, shallots, and sauté briefly, just until starting to soften.
  • Add garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, fennel seeds, ground celery seeds, turmeric and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add red wine, tomato paste and stir well.
  • Pour over lamb.
  • Add chicken stock, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cover and cook, low heat, 7 hours.
  • Add preserved lemon, parsley and cook 30 minutes longer.
  • Turn heat to high, add cornstarch mixture and cook another 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Remove lamb and slice.
  • Serve over couscous or rice.

Print Recipe

Today is ‘poisson d’avril’ – the French equivalent of April Fool’s Day.

Actually, I’ve learned that it should be the other way around…..

The general consensus is that the tradition of making fools of your friends on the 1st of April originated in France.

It seems that in the mid-1500’s King Charles IX of France decided to change the beginning of the year from  April 1st to January 1st.

He issued the Edict of Roussillon to make it so.

Unfortunately, word didn’t get around quite as fast then as it does now – no TV, internet, mobile phones and such, and the peasants out in the country were a bit laggard in changing their traditions.

The folks who were tight with the king and celebrated on January 1 made fun of the poor souls who were stuck in the past, celebrating on April 1.

Somehow, fish became central to the joke, seeing as the beginning of April coincided with the end of Lent, when people were not allowed to eat meat but could eat fish.

It’s all rather vague….

Anyway, the joke was, and still is, to make paper fish that you then pin or tape to the back of an unsuspecting friend. When they discover the fish you yell ‘poisson d’avril’ – or ‘April fish’.

It’s all great fun for the kids (she says as she looks over her shoulder…)

On the positive side – one can find fish-shaped chocolates and sweets as a consolation to unknowingly wearing a fish.

Last update on April 1, 2016

3 thoughts on “Spicy Moroccan Lamb, Slow Cooker; poisson d’avril”

  1. Katie your lamb looks lovely…great seasonings too. Was it a lamb shoulder or leg? Sometimes lamb cuts like this can be hard to find where I live….and when you do – very pricey. But once in a while lamb is such a lovely dish.

  2. I’ll have to go back to my market now, to pick up the lamb shoulder roast I contemplated but didn’t buy since I didn’t have an idea for using it at that time. Over here, the true April fool is a man called Donald. Ugh!

  3. Ina, I have no clue…. As is typical here it was boned, rolled and tied into a perfect log lol

    Zoomie. he is one scary guy…. along with his nemesis, Ted. Hope your lamb was yummy!

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