Spicy Lamb and Jewelled Couscous
What I love about Moroccan cooking is the vibrant colours and flavours and the way that they use the sweet and spicy combinations, which is exactly what this recipe is all about.
Now first of all for the lamb I’m just sautéing some onion which is finely sliced and now it’s just nice and golden with a little bit of olive oil. Now to that I’m just going to add some diced shoulder of lamb, a really economical cut of meat which benefits from actually taking a long cooking time. Just give that a good stir around in the pan. And then in with some spices, and I’m going to be really generous here because the lamb will take on all of those flavours.
So I’ve got some ground coriander, some cinnamon, and some hot paprika just to add a nice bit of spice and warmth to the dish. And when this is cooking it’ll add a really nice spicy aromatic aroma all around the house so when your gets arrive, they’ll think they’ve walked into Morocco. Give it a stir around just to create enough heat for those spices to start to really release their aroma. And then in with some chopped tomatoes, in with some water and a good handful of sultanas. Lid on and then leave to cook for about an hour and a half and then to serve with the lamb we’re going to do the couscous.
Now this is just some dried couscous which I’ve put some hot chicken stock on and left it to absorb. It takes about five minutes. And then you just want to run a fork through the top of these grains, running all the way through just to break them all up. And then into the basic couscous we’re going to add some really punchy flavours into this. I’m going to start off with some olives. I’ve got some green olives, and roughly chop. And then I’m going to add some preserved lemons, now these are a really traditional ingredient used in Morocco that add a delicate citrus flavour to lots of different foods. And what it is, they preserve them just in some salt water, some brine. Remove some of those seeds and then roughly chop and you can eat the whole thing. Into the couscous and just give everything a good stir around. Now for a nice vibrant bit of colour on top I’m going to scatter with some pomegranate seeds. Just lightly stir them through the top. And then this is ready just to put on the table, and for this it’s going to go straight as it is so that people can dig in and help themselves, a big sharing plate of food.
Now for the last half hour of the cooking time for the lamb, you just want to take off the lid and then leave it to cook to let all those flavours intensify and for the sauce to thicken. And that’s when you get that lovely smell across the house. And by now the lamb is meltingly soft. Because of course the longer you leave it cooking, the more tender the lamb will become. So if you get carried away with your friends it really does not matter one bit, you’ve not ruined the lamb.
So I’m just serving all of this up in one large bowl so it can go straight to the table and everyone can tuck in and help themselves, making it a really nice informal situation. I’ll just finish it off with a nice sprinkling of chopped coriander.