Spicy Honeyed Lamb with Raisins and Almonds
A slow cooked lamb recipe to try this winter from “The North African Cook Book” by Jeff Koehler.
Mrouzia is one of Morocco’s great festive dishes and traditionally prepared after Eid al-Adha — “feast of the sacrifice” — when there is plenty of lamb to cook. It is often made with bony cuts, such as saddle, neck and shoulder. These cuts give plenty of flavour as they slowly cook to extreme tenderness. The honey and raisins add sweet notes that perfectly contrast the ras al hanout spice blend. The final sauce should be deep brown, rich and glazy.
Preparation Time: 25 minutes, plus marinating and soaking time
Cooking Time: 2 hours 30 minutes – 3 hours
2 teaspoons ras al hanout
1 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1.5kg mix of bone-in lamb neck, saddle and/or shoulder, cut into 8–10 generous pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
25g (2 tablespoons) butter
2 red or yellow onions, finely chopped
200g (scant 1½ cups) seedless raisins
100g (2⁄3 cup) whole almonds
neutral oil, for frying
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
120ml (½ cup) honey
salt and pepper
Put the ras al hanout, ginger and saffron with 2 tablespoons water into a large bowl and mix together, then season with salt and pepper. Add the pieces of lamb, one by one, turning to coat. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Put the meat and all of the marinade into a large, heavy pot or casserole dish. Add the olive oil, butter and onions and cook over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes, turning the meat. Pour in 250ml (1 cup) water, loosely cover with a lid and cook over a low heat until the meat is tender and the water evaporated, 2–2 ½ hours. Add a touch of water if needed during cooking or remove the lid.
Meanwhile, put the raisins into a small heatproof bowl of lukewarm water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Put the almonds into a medium saucepan of water, bring to the boil and boil for 3–5 minutes, then drain. Once cool enough to handle, slip off the skins with your fingers. Spread the almonds out on paper towels to dry.
Line a medium plate with paper towels. Heat about 7mm of neutral oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat until the surface shimmers. Add the almonds and fry for 1–2 minutes until just golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the paper towels to drain. Set aside.
Add the soaked raisins, cinnamon and honey to the lamb, and cook, uncovered, over a very low heat until the sauce has reduced and the meat comes away easily from the bone, about 30 minutes. Arrange the lamb on a serving platter, cover with the glazy sauce and scatter over the almonds. Serve.
This is an edited extract from “The North African Cook Book” by Jeff Koehler (Phaidon), $74.95.
This is an extract from an article that appears in print in our eighth edition, Page 158 of Winning Magazine. Subscribe to Winning Magazine today.