Moroccan Lamb Stew with Almonds and Raisins

The first time I made this Moroccan lamb stew I made a big pot of it for Passover. I was tired of the usual brisket and chicken for the holidays. So, mom and I made this instead.

It’s flavored with cinnamon, a touch of ginger, raisins, almonds, and lamb.  The lamb is cooked slowly, so it practically melts in your mouth.

While the full recipe is certainly worth making (and then freezing the leftovers), my freezer is tiny and too full of other food to do that right now.

So I “minified” the recipe (from The Book of Jewish Food) and made it for one instead.  Many Moroccan recipes call for somewhat exotic ingredients (if you’re a Westerner), such as sumac or ras el hanout.  This one doesn’t. It’s made entirely with ingredients that should be in any market.  And, once you start it cooking, there’s very little to do.

I have modified it slightly. She calls for honey and more water than I  have used. I left out the honey because I felt the raisins and the carrots (my own addition) were sweet enough.  I reduced the water, using just enough to soak the saffron. The lamb cooks nicely in its own fat, it doesn’t need the water.

I don’t have a slow cooker, but if you do, you could probably start your stew in the morning and have it ready when you come home from work.

Use either a lamb breast (bone-in) or a shoulder lamb chop. Shoulder cuts are also better for stews and long, slow cooking.

It’s great for a weekend dinner, washed down with some Zinfandel.

Moroccan Lamb Stew Tools and Ingredients

Spanish Saffron

Yes, it’s pricey, but it adds a unique flavor and beautiful color. Luckily, Amazon is easier (and likely less expensive and fresher) than the stuff in the supermarket.  Soak it first, then mash it with a spoon to release the flavor and color. You only need a little bit and you can use the rest for other dishes.

The Book of Jewish Food

This book is part cookbook, part history, and part travelogue.  There are recipes from places you probably never thought of as “Jewish.” The ingredients aren’t always what you’d expect either. Sure there are recipes for challah, and potato pancakes, and noodle pudding.

But there’s also stuffed zucchini, meatballs in apricot sauce, lamb with artichokes, pita bread, and phyllo pastry filled with pistachios. She gives recipes, as well as a history of the people in each part of the world she covers. It’s like going on vacation, and sometimes traveling back through time, without leaving your couch.

More Moroccan and Lamb Recipes

moroccan chicken soupMoroccan Chicken and Lentil Soup

Yes, this is really “Jewish” food. Except it’s from Morocco, not Poland. Flavored with chicken, saffron, tomatoes and beans, enriched with noodles and turmeric.  Just the thing for a chilly day.

chicken with tomatoes and olivesChicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

Another Jewish recipe, this time from North Africa. Flavored with buttery green olives, sweet tomatoes, and a little bit of ginger for kick.


greek lamb breastGreek Lamb Breast Recipe

Slow roasted in the oven with an easy marinade you can make in minutes.  Slow cooking brings out the garlicky, lemony flavor of the marinade and lets it seep into the meat.

spinach lamb meatballs

Spinach Lamb Meatballs

A cross-country collaboration rich with tangy vinegar, earthy spinach, and warm spice from cumin. Ready in minutes.




Moroccan Chicken and Lentil Soup

The first time I made this Moroccan chicken and lentil soup it was “surprise soup.” It was a cold day, and I looked around in my kitchen, saw lentils, chicken, and carrots, and thought, there must be a soup in here someplace!  So, I started paging through my cookbooks.  I found a recipe for harira, which is a               Moroccan lentil and lamb soup, in The Book of Jewish Food (a wonderful cookbook which is part recipes and part travelogue).  I didn’t have the lamb, but I figured I could adjust it and use chicken instead.

Incidentally, if you don’t have lentils, white beans will work just fine.  Either dried or from a can is OK.  I have used both, and both are delicious.

The advantage with lentils is you don’t have to soak them! If you want to go with beans, try my quick soak method to speed up the process.

By the way, the leaves on top of the soup are fresh ginger from my windowsill garden (just for a splash of color). They add lots of flavor too. All I did was plant some roots that were sprouting.

Tools and Ingredients for this Recipe

Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Cookware, Dutch Oven, 5-quart

I have a similar pot in a smaller size, but I really lust after the bigger one. Mine also doesn’t have the built-in strainer (which seems very handy). It does have the glass lid, which is great because I can easily see how close the food is to boiling without lifting the lid and getting a face full of steam. It’s great for soup or chili or a big pot of pasta when company is coming.

Frontier Turmeric Root Ground, 1.92-Ounce Bottle

Turmeric is related to ginger and has a warm, peppery flavor. Like ginger, it can be savory or sweet, and can be used in both dinner and dessert recipes. It’s great in soups, on chicken, lamb, or mixed in with scrambled eggs. It’s also an anti-inflammatory.


More Lentil Soup Recipes

ham and lentil soupEasy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

Just one pot required for a warm, comforting soup. Packed with lentils, carrots, and smoky ham for lots of flavor.


lentil bean sausage soupLentil Bean Sausage Soup

Another way to use lentils, this time with beans and sausage. Just the thing for a chilly, winter day.


mulligatawny soupMulligatawny Soup Recipe

Fusion food! This soup is Britain meets India. The UK brought the meat and the Tamils contributed the spice.  Note this is usually made with red lentils, but rice works too.


lamb and lentil soupLamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Lamb and lentils pair beautifully together.  This soup is low-simmered on the stove (go do something else while it cooks and your kitchen becomes fragrant with tomatoes, lamb, and thyme).