House rule: everyone gets a big first helping of dinner, but after that you can pick and choose what you want to eat more of, directly from the pot. It’s a fork war for more carrots or the last big hunk of lamb. And it’s a lot easier than being fussy and using a serving spoon to move the best bits and pieces onto your plate. This big pot of Moroccan lamb is no exception.
The Moroccan lamb is wonderful; it’s spicy and sweet, rich and bright, and has a flavor-packed sauce that melts into the couscous. There are 12 different spices, but if you’re missing one, just substitute a little more of another. I doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference. (But don’t hold me responsible, please!) I threw in chickpeas to add a little more oomph and protein, and an extra can of tomatoes because I like them. Before adding the carrots and fruit, the sauce was definitely spicy, but the addition of the last few ingredients really cuts the spice and adds another level of flavor and sweetness.
I thought briefly about the advantages of buying a tagine to cook this dish in. While it would be more authentic, a big pot or chefs pan is sufficient for my endeavours. Maybe one day I’ll become a Moroccan lamb expert with enough recipes (and storage space!) to warrant some traditional cookware.
Anyways, this one was just a quick post with a quick photo shoot. We had dinner guests over, so I didn’t want to make hungry guests wait while I picked at and posed my food. So, as you can see, this is what our dinner table really looks like!
1-2 cups stock, beef or vegetable (whatever you have)
1 15-oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 15-oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
4 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup dried dates, chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp toasted almonds
For the couscous:
1-2 cups couscous, cooked according to directions
Combine all of the spices, a drizzle of olive oil, and the lamb in a ziplock bag. Make sure all of the lamb pieces are well-covered. Marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large oven-safe pot (I used a 12" chef's pan) over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and brown on all sides, then remove and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion. Cook until just tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Add the lamb back in, along with the tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Cover with beef or vegetable stock. Raise to high heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, remove from the stove, and place in the oven. Cook until the lamb is extremely tender, about 2-3 hours.
1 hour before serving, add the chickpeas, carrots, and dried fruit to the pot. Cover and continue to cook for the last hour. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chopped cilantro and toasted almonds on top. Serve over couscous and enjoy!