Moroccan-Style Lamb Stew

I got inspired to this dish by a wonderful and extremely tasty lamb tajine that I had in Morocco once. Although I did enjoy the local staple dish cooked in the unmistakable earthenware pot on many occasions while traveling through Morocco, I especially remember one particular tajine that I had in a simple riad just before a truly magical overnight stay spent in a tent in the desert dunes of Erg Chebbi. While you would probably not think that a hearty meat stew could constitute a soothing meal in the searing hot climate of the North-African desert, after a long day of driving in a 4×4 through the open dusty landscape the soft-boiled vegetables and meat in rich deep broth was actually just what was needed to recharge the one’s batteries.

As I do not own a tajine pot, I prepared the meat in a roaster, and I believe the result is pretty similar. Enjoy with some freshly baked flatbread and yoghurt on the side!

Sanni

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of lamb shank or shoulder (without bone)
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame seed
  • 3 cardamon capsules
  • 1/2 teaspoon of aniseed
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  • 2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • 300 ml of lamb stock
  • 5-6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 4-5 large chunks
  • 1 organic lemon, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 100 grams of dried dates (no sugar added), stones removed and cut into halves
  • 2 tablespoons of blanched cut almonds
  • 4 sprigs of mint
  • 4 sprigs of dill
  • 4 sprigs of parsley
  • For serving: squeeze of lemon, yoghurt, flatbread

Preparation:

  1. Remove any fat and sinew from the meat and cut it into large chunks.
  2. Grind the coriander seed, sesame seed, cardamon, aniseed, peppercorns, cumin and paprika in a mortar.
  3. In a bowl, mix the meat with the spice mix. Break the cinnamon stick in 2 pieces and add.
  4. Heat up the olive oil and ghee in a roaster over medium to high heat. Sear the meat from all sides for a few minutes.
  5. Add the onion and garlic cloves. Fry briefly.
  6. Season with salt and add the lamb stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the temperature and cover.
  7. Let simmer over low heat for 1 1/4 hours, then add the carrots, potatoes and the lemon.
  8. Continue simmering for around 15 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and the dates and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  9. In the meantime, toast the almonds in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat (no oil!) for around 5 minutes, turning them frequently.
  10. Remove the leaves of the herbs from the stems, mix and chop roughly.
  11. For serving, ladle the stew into a deep bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with the herbs. Serve with yoghurt and some freshly baked flatbread on the side.

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