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 a shoulder lamb chop with a round bone as it is easier to cut up. 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 bean and chicken soupMoroccan Chicken and Bean 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 Bean Soup

The first time I made this Moroccan chicken and bean soup it was “surprise soup.” It was a cold day, and I looked around in my fridge, saw beans, 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 Moroccan bean and vegetable soup, in The Book of Jewish Food (a wonderful cookbook which is part recipes and part travelogue).  The recipe called for lamb (but I had no lamb in the fridge) and lentils (no lentils in the pantry), but I figured I could adjust it.

I replaced the lamb with chicken and the lentils with white beans.  The carrots, well they had to wait for another day.

I used soaked beans (since I already had them; you can use a can instead, or try my quick soak method to speed up the process.

It’s technically spring as I type this, but at 57 degrees it sure doesn’t feel like it. Time for soup!




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 Bean Soup Recipes

pasta e fagioli soupPasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

The Italian classic, scaled down for one person. Fragrant with garlic, rosemary, and tomatoes.  The beans and pasta make it both delicious and filling. Perfect for a chilly day.

 

easy italian wedding soupEasy Italian Wedding Soup

Want soup, but feeling super lazy? This soup takes only minutes to make (with pre-made meatballs). Just heat and eat.

 

easy spicy turkey soupQuick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

Turkey soup with a south-of-the border kick. It’s got beans, lime, and cayenne and cumin for heat, warm/spiciness and a wonderful fragrance.