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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Ras el hanout and a Moroccan Lamb stew.

Ras el hanout = a spice blend of coriander, black pepper, ginger, paprika, allspice, cardamon, mace, nutmeg, turmeric, cayenne, cloves and rose petals.

After a grand tour around Nottingham I finally found the elusive 'ras el hanout' Moroccan style spice mix with rose petals at Waitrose. I knew that a version was available at Tescos but felt dis-inclined to go to my work place on a holiday day off.



I have been hankering after making this unctuous Moroccan lamb dish with sweet and new potatoes, shallots, apricots, chunky carrots and coriander for a while and, during a brief holiday from work I thought 'now' is the chance to try making it for the first time. I got the recipe from Rick Stein's book French Odyssey. It's also available  on the internet but with larger amounts than I did for myself.

The French Odyssey DVD is a classic that I watched over and over again. I love it!





If I had any advice to offer it would be to prepare everything in advance. Each step follows the other rapidly so no time for casual messing about preparing the veg or any other item along the way. A nice bottle of Shiraz helps the cooking too. To drink not as an ingredient. :0)

paste ingredients
First of all I made a spicy paste from a finely chopped red pepper, four garlic cloves, coriander stalks, and a chopped shallot. Then I peeled and chopped the carrots, sweet potato, new potatoes and another shallot and put them to one side in cold water.


I'd already stripped the leg of lamb of excess fat and after taking out the bones had cut the meat into big chunks. As it was a whole leg of lamb I put a proportion of it in the freezer as lamb steaks. The traditional recipe seems to call for  a big bunch of expensive lamb shanks and as I got the leg of lamb cheap from my local CO-OP store I felt happy to cheat with the meat. A whole leg of NZ lamb cost me just £9 on a special offer

stirring the paste and ras el hanout  in the olive oil

resting lamb
Firstly, I heated a small amount of olive oil in my stock pot and popped the lamb pieces in to brown. As they hit the hot oil they made a satisfying sizzling sound. Once they had gone a nice brown colour I took them out and warmed through the paste for a few minutes (5  mins max) adding two teaspoons of ras el hanout and then tumbled in the veg, vine tomatoes, apricots and bay leaves. I gave the ingredients a thorough stir, and  re-introduced the part cooked lamb pieces into the stew coating the whole lot thoroughly with the spicy paste. On top of this I immersed the veg and meat mixture with 3/4 of a pint of steamy chicken stock and a small handful of fresh coriander leaves. The chicken stock almost covered the stew and I left the Moroccan style lamb stew to bubble lightly away for an hour and a half. In the last five minutes I added some more fresh coriander leaves for extra herbal pungency.



At the last minute I prepared some couscous from a packet and my dinner was ready. The warm kitchen smelt fantastic from all the spicy aromatics. Yum yum.

7 comments:

Jean said...

Wow !!

John Medd said...

Trust Bart. Doh!

word veri = homers

Phil Lowe said...

Jean: Wow!! indeed. It was delish.

John Medd: lmao. doh!

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

do you know I too have been looking for the same bloody spice mix too!... good old waitrose... aren't they marvelous!... much like your stew... can't wait to see you lime curd too!

Karen said...

It looks delicious....apart from the lamb, which I do not eat. Would it work with chicken?

Peter said...

Very nice Phil. I'm a big fan of moroccan food. Always make my recipes extra hot. I like cous cous but like it with flat bread too.

Well done mate.

PSFT said...

I think it is high time you did some Blurbing!

Excellent . . .