Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Moroccan braised and browned lamb

This slow cooked lamb is wonderfully succulent, tasty and requires almost no chewing. All the flavours are gentle and the aroma is enticing. Several friends who were sure they didn't like lamb enjoyed eating it so much that they now cook it themselves.

The pleasure of this is that it's very simple to prepare, and is still a bit of a show piece. It works with rice, couscous or potatoes.

The meat needs to sit in its marinade for at least two hours, or overnight.

The original recipe comes from a wonderful book, Couscous by Paula Wolfert. 

Moroccan braised and browned lamb (El Lahn Mahammer)

El lahm mahammer is traditionally served either with fried almonds or fried potatoes.

equipment:        small bowl

                        large casserole

preparation:       15 mins work

                        2 hours marinading

cooking:            2 hours braising

                        20 mins baking



½ leg of lamb

2 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)

pinch powdered saffron

100g softened unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1½ tsps paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

2 cups grated onion (two small onions)

salt to taste

5 sprigs green coriander tied in bunch with thread

½ cup whole blanched almonds

15 mins prep + 2 hours standing

Trim fat off the lamb. Mash the garlic cloves with the spices and blend with the butter to make a paste. Rub well into the pieces of lamb and let stand for a few hours.

2 hours braising
Place the onion, two cups water, and salt in a large casserole, with the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover, simmer for one hour, occasionally turning and basting the lamb. Add the coriander sprigs. Continue cooking the lamb for 30 minutes, adding water if necessary. Preheat the oven to 450o. Cook the lamb another 30 minutes, until the meat is very tender and almost falling off the bone.

10 minutes
heat oven to F450o/gas mark 8/230C

Transfer the lamb to the ovenproof serving dish, and cover to keep warm. Skim the remaining liquid. Discard the fat - or save it to fry potatoes.

30 minutes
Reduce the liquid left in the casserole to a thick gravy, boiling it vigorously, stirring all the time. Spoon the gravy over lamb and brown in the oven for 20 minutes, basting occasionally.

While the lamb is baking sauté the almonds in oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and chop coarsely or leave whole. Sprinkle nuts over the meat just before serving.

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