|Fruity Moroccan Style Lamb, with Ras el Hanout|
|Tagine: see my Amazon Marketplace|
With this in mind, when I decided to use my Ras el Hanout mixture to make a lamb dish that is vaguely Moroccan style (in my mind), I considered that I might also recreate my Ras el Hanout mixture using less exotic spices (galangal, ajwain, black cumin, rosebuds, grains of paradise, lavender). All of these in my new mix are more readily available to the average person.
Ras el Hanout II
|Ras el Hanout II Spices|
4 teaspoons coriander seed
4 teaspoons cumin seed
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons fennel seed
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
2 teaspoons allspice berries
2 teaspoons dried oregano (in leaf form)
3-inches true cinnamon stick, crumbled
16 green cardamom pods, seeds removed, hulls discarded (or a scant teaspoon of cardamom seeds)
8 whole cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 (whole) nutmeg, ground
Combine the first 10 ingredients in a spice grinder and grind to powder. In a bowl, combine this mixture with the remaining ingredients and mix well. Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark place.
Meanwhile, I had decided to use one of the legs of lamb I had in the freezer, and wanted to make it in a somewhat Moroccan style; mainly that I use some of the Ras el Hanout, that it have some fruits in the mix, I would use saffron, and I would garnish with pistachios, pomegranate arils and a drizzle of honey. Ultimately, it was a very tasty "tagine" style braised lamb. If Moroccan, it might have chiles in the mixture. If spicy hot is your thing, add in chiles to taste. I used some Aleppo pepper, which gave a nice gentle heat. The apricots and dates in the braise dissolve completely, making a slightly thickened sauce. The figs stayed recognizable. Here is what i did:
Makes one 5 - 6 lb leg of lamb
1 (5 - 6 pound) leg of lamb
6 - 8 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, optional
a few saffron threads
3 tablespoons Ras el Hanout
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 - 4 carrots, peeled, cut in a few pieces
1/2 cup whole, pitted dates
1/2 cup whole dried apricots
1/2 cup dried figs, cut in half
1 (2-inch) strip of lemon peel
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup stuffed olives
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (can substitute almonds)
2 - 3 tablespoons honey, for drizzling
Using a mortar and pestle or other implement, pound / smash together the garlic, salt, saffron and Aleppo pepper until garlic is in very small bits. Add in the Ras el Hanout and olive oil and continue to pound the mixture to a paste. Smear this paste all over the lamb leg.
|veggies in pot | pounding garlic & salt mixture | pounded finer | added spice & oil | rubbed onto lamb|
Once done, use 2 forks to pull the meat off the bone in chunks. Using paper toweling, lightly set the towels onto the surface of the liquids in the pot to remove excess fat. Discard paper towels. Return the meat to the pot and stir. Serve over a bed of rice and strew the olives, pomegranate arils, and pistachios over. Drizzle the honey over all. Garnish with cilantro sprigs if desired.
I made saffron rice to serve with the braise. I used 2 cups basmati rice, 2 teaspoons olive oil, a little saffron rubbed to fine bits, 2 teaspoons salt and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.