Memories of Morocco will be with me forever and visions of the people, the meals and the culture come to life with the smells of North African spices while preparing a savory stew or Tagine. Don’t be afraid of trying this stew recipe as it is very adaptable and forgiving of circumstances. I remember watching women prepare this dish in the back stall of the souk, in a tiny space with minimal tools. Honestly, their version of this dish tasted as good or better than the lamb we ate in the most elegant of hotel restaurants, and as delicious, complex and seductive.
On Trimmer Tuesday, the array of spices will ignite your passion along with your metabolism; and served with a “couscous” made with grated cauliflower makes this the perfect protein and fiber-packed dinner to enjoy for a spicy evening, no matter where you are.
1 lb. of boneless lamb meat for stewing or one small lamb shank weighing about 3 lbs (ask your butcher)
2 bay leaves
1 handful dried apricots
285 ml boiling water
One whole small cauliflower
1 large bunch fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3-4 small dried chillies (Pequin chilies are perfect for this)
1 small bunch fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 thumb-sized pieces fresh ginger , peeled
North Fork sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
4 small carrot, peeled, cut into rounds, then sliced in half
2 red onions , peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
12 ripe plum tomatoes or one large can of whole plum tomatoes
1 stick cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Pound up your cumin, coriander and fennel seeds with the dried chillies, rosemary, ginger and a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Smear half of this marinade over your lamb before you plait it. Rub and massage it in, then set the meat aside while you mix the rest of the marinade in a bowl with the carrots, onions and garlic.
Brown the marinated pieces of meat on both sides in a pan with a little olive oil. Add the carrot mixture to the pan and remove the lamb to the empty bowl while you fry your veg for about 4 minutes until the onions are slightly soft. Add your tomatoes, give the pan a shake and place the meat on top. Add 3 wineglasses of water, the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and dried apricots, and braise in your Tagine dish or Dutch oven in the preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Roughly chop the fresh cilantro and stir it through the stew just before serving. Divide between 4 plates with the “couscous” and spoon over a good dollop of the Greek yogurt.
You can find the couscous recipe from our friends at the kitchn here.