I am a little bit obsessed with Morocco at the moment. I love the patterns and the colours and the exotic-ness of it…and I really love the food.
When I share my love of Moroccan food, people often ask me what Moroccan food is. The only way I can explain it is it is sweet and spicy. Moroccan food is full of rich spices with little pops of sweetness. Dried apricots, dates, raisins and figs all find their way into rich savoury dishes giving them a hit of sweetness amongst the spices. Nuts also play a part giving a variety in texture and another layer of flavour.
I must confess that I have never been to Morocco, in real life anyway. I live my Moroccan dream vicariously through the internet but one day I would love to visit.
So, with my obsession for Moroccan food, I am always on the lookout for a good recipe to try. Last night I made an absolutely delicious Moroccan Lamb Tagine. The original recipe is from BBC Food and can be found here and my slightly adjusted recipe is below.
Moroccan Lamb Tagine
Cooking Time: more than 2 hours
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
1½ tbsp paprika
1½ tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 kg lamb, trimmed and cut into cubes
2 onions finely diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
500ml tomato juice
2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 x 400gm tinned Chick Peas
115g dried apricots, cut in half
55g dates, cut in half
85g flaked almonds
500ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp honey
Fresh coriander and natural yoghurt to serve
- Place the cayenne, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to combine. Place the lamb in a large bowl and toss together with half of the spice mix. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a frypan. Add the grated onion and the remaining spice mix and cook over a gentle heat so that the onions are soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Remove onion and spice mix to a large casserole dish.
- In the same frying pan, heat the remaining oil and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides then add the browned meat to the casserole dish. De-glaze the frying pan with the tomato juice and add these juices to the meat and onions.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, stock and honey to the casserole dish. Bring to the boil, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Add chick peas and return to oven and cook for an additional 1 hour.
1 x eggplant
2 x zucchini cut into batons
2 x sweet potato peeled and cut into thin slices
1/2 cauliflower cut into florets
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
2 tbls olive oil
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Slice eggplant into 1/2 cm rings and lay flat on chopping board. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 10 mins.
- Pat the eggplant dry and turn over. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for another 10 mins.
- Pat eggplant dry and cut into thick strips.
- Combine all vegetables into a large bowl. Add oil and spices and toss to coat.
- Pour vegetables into a roasting pan, cover with foil and put into oven. Cook for 45 – 60 mins or until sweet potato is tender.
Easy Cous Cous
1 x 500gm pkt cous cous
600ml boiling water
2 tbls olive oil
- Pour cous cous into a plastic container with a tight fitting lid.
- Combine oil and water in a jug and pour over cous cous.
- Cover with lid and let sit for 3 mins.
- Remove lid and use a fork to gently fluff and separate cous cous grains.
Put cous cous on plate. Top with lamb and vegetables. Garnish with coriander and serve natural yoghurt on the side.
My family and I loved this dish. It is a bit spicy, so I reduced the cayenne and black pepper. If you like a bit of heat, double the cayenne and black pepper. The meat is incredibly tender and falls apart on your fork. I used a rolled lamb roast which I unrolled and trimmed all the fat off before dicing.