Moroccan lamb stew

I am now working from home full-time, which means  1) I can choose not to leave the house if it’s raining and  2) I will most probably be doing a lot more cooking (trying really hard not to gain too much weight in the process).

Over the years, I have been given quite a few Jamie Oliver books as gifts, but I’ve only really cooked a few things from the whole collection. This pasta salad always goes down a treat at barbeques, so I thought why not try a few more of Mr Oliver’s recipes.

I’m a huge fan of tray-baked food and really liked the look of this Moroccan lamb stew. I am happy to say it’s really simple to make and tastes fab. Definitely worth a go, even though I had to swap the couscous for rice due to my wheat intolerance.

Moroccan lamb Stew

Ingredients:
Serves 4

• 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 3-4 small dried chillies
• a small bunch of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
• 2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• extra virgin olive oil
• 4 smallish neck fillets of lamb
• 4 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2.5 cm/1 inch dice
• 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
• 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
• 12 ripe plum tomatoes, each cut into 8 pieces
• 1 stick of cinnamon
• 2 bay leaves
• a handful of dried apricots
• 285ml (½ pint) boiling water
• 350g/12oz couscous
• a little wine vinegar
• 1 large bunch of fresh coriander
• 4 tablespoons natural yoghurt

Method:

Trimmed the meat of all sinews, bashed it flat using a rolling pin, and make 2 incisions down the length of each fillet, but not quite to the end, so it looks almost like a tripod. Then marinated it with lots of spices and herbs and plait it, to give a contrast between crispy and soft meat. You don’t have to plait the meat but it does increase the surface area, meaning the marinade can get right in there.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Pound up your cumin, coriander and fennel seeds with the dried chillies, rosemary, ginger and a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Smear half of this marinade over your lamb before you plait it. Rub and massage it in, then put the meat to one side while you mix the rest of the marinade in a bowl with the sweet potatoes, onions and garlic.

Brown your 4 marinaded pieces of meat on both sides in a pan with a little olive oil. Add the sweet potato mixture to the pan and remove the lamb to the empty bowl while you fry your veg for about 4 minutes until the onions are slightly soft. Add your tomatoes, give the pan a shake and place the meat on top. Add 3 wineglasses of water, the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and dried apricots, and braise in the preheated oven (I suggest you do this with the lid off to give it a little colour) for 1 hour 15 minutes. Now pour the boiling water over the couscous and allow it to be absorbed. Then fork the couscous through, season with salt, pepper, a lug of olive oil and a swig of wine vinegar, cover with tinfoil and place in the oven for 5 minutes to steam.

Roughly chop the fresh coriander and stir it through the stew just before serving. Divide between 4 plates with the couscous and spoon over a good dollop of natural yoghurt.

Inhale the wonderful aromas

Do not serve with this much rice, as you will not be able to eat it all!

Plenty for lunch the next day if there are just two of you.

Serve with a fabulous South Australian Shiraz – If you so choose.

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