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

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Moroccan

one serving

Moroccan Lamb Stew

Traditional for the holidays, this Moroccan stew gets sweetness from raisins, and cinnamon and a bit of a kick from ginger.

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 T vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 shoulder lamb chop (preferably round bone, as it's easier to cut up), cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • a few threads of saffron*
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
  • sliced frozen carrot (optional, about 8 pieces)
  • 1 T seedless raisins
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6-8 almonds (divided)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the diced onion and let it cook for a minute or two.
  3. Now put in the lamb cubes, cook, stirring, until the lamb browns.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, saffron, and ginger.
  5. The fat from the lamb should be enough to cook it, check it occasionally and add a tablespoon or two of water if needed.
  6. Simmer on low heat for one hour.
  7. Put in the raisins and cinnamon and cook another 15 minutes.
  8. Add the carrot, if using (I had about one carrot's worth of frozen carrots left, so I threw them in for color)
  9. Take half the almonds, and add to the pot, cooking and stirring for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove the stew onto a serving plate. Chop the remaining almonds and sprinkle them on top.

Notes

*To use the saffron, soak it for about 20 minutes in about 2 T of water. Mash that up, and then add it to the stew (with the water). It will add flavor and color to the final dish.

More Moroccan and Lamb Recipes

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

Lamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Greek Lamb Breast Recipe

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.




 

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 Hariza, which is Morrocan 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!




Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: African, Sephardic, Jewish

6 servings

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Moroccan inspired chicken soup with beans and vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs (about 3 or 4)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 can beans, or 3/4 C dried beans, soaked overnight (or use the quick soak method)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 16 oz can tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • pinch ginger
  • pinch turmeric or saffron
  • 1//4 C flour
  • 2 oz. thin noodles, like vermicelli or angel hair, broken in quarters
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 T of the canola (or other neutral oil) in a large pot Add the chicken pieces and brown, turning occasionally, for five minutes.
  2. Add the water, and bring the pot to a boil. Remove any scum that rises to the top.
  3. Now add the beans to the pot.
  4. In a separate frying pan, cook the onions in the oil until they brown.
  5. Season the soup with salt and pepper and bring it to a simmer, cooking about 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno, ginger and turmeric. If the soup boils down too much and gets too thick, add more water to bring it to the right consistency.
  7. Mix the flour with a bit of cold water, to make a paste. Add the flour paste to the soup, stirring so it doesn't clump together. It should thicken the soup and make it "velvety. (think velveting chicken in Chinese cooking). Now add the pasta and simmer it another 15 minutes until the pasta is cooked. Add the coriander and the lemon juice.
  8. If you used bone-in thighs (and you should for more flavor), let the soup cool for a minute or two and pull out the bones.
  9. Pour the soup into bowls and serve, or package into individual portions and freeze.

Notes

You can substitute lamb and lentils for the chicken and beans, or switch the pasts with rice.

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.