Saturday, September 25, 2010

PFB Challenge #2 The Classics: Moroccan Lamb Tangine with Couscous

Welcome to the Kingdom of Morocco located in North Africa. Where the flavors and aroma will draw you in as it did with me. My first and only experience with Moroccan cuisine was many years ago when I was invited to a friends birthday party at Marrakesh. An authentic Moroccan restaurant located in Washington D.C. I absolutely fell in love with the place. The exotic spices and aromatic nature of all the dishes were intoxicating. 

And although I'm only 30 minutes outside of D.C. I haven't been able to go back. So, I thought why not try out a dish at home. Which brings me to the Project Food Blog's 2nd Challenge, The Classics. Where I am to recreate a unfamiliar classic dish from a different culture. And what perfect way to experience an authentic Moroccan dish in the comfort of your own home using organic and fresh ingredients. So here goes...

Moroccan cuisine is one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. Early influences by the first settlers known as the Berbers introduced dishes like Tangine (a lamb or chicken stew) and the well known Couscous. Next came the Arab invasion. Which brought about the influences of flavorful spices, nuts, dried fruits and savory and sweet flavor combinations. Which is present in this particular dish. The dried apricot gives off a sweet and tangy flavor while the spices provide the intense heat and savoriness. 

The Moorish introduced how to implement locally grown olives and citrus into the Moroccan cuisine. While the Jewish-Moors shared their preserving techniques like the well known Moroccan preserved lemon or pickle. The Ottoman Empire introduced barbequed meats such as Kebabs. And the influence of France, albeit short left behind a culture of pastries, wine and cafes. 

Lamb is the preferred red meat in Morocco. Although chicken and beef are also commonly used. In Korean cuisine lamb isn't even on the radar. As well as such spices like cumin, corriander, fennel seeds and even fresh cilantro. Lamb is not one of my favorite meats. However, this recipe has made me into a lamb lover! The gaminess of the lamb is not present in this dish at all. The combination of flavors from the diverse influences truly makes this classic Moroccan dish harmonious. Its amazing how so many different cultural cuisines can marry together to create a symphony of mouth watering flavors. 

Moroccan Lamb Tangine, Courtesy of
1/2 tbsp Ground Cumin
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1-1/4 lbs Lamb Leg, Trim and cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch Pieces
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
1-1/2 tsp Tomato Paste
1 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
1/2 of a 15-1/2 oz Can of Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), Drained
2 Medium Plum Tomatoes, Chopped
1 Cinnamon Sticks
1-1/2 tsp Minced Fresh Ginger
1 tsp (Packed) Grated Lemon Peel
1 tbsp Chopped Fresh Cilantro

1. Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add lamb and toss until evenly coated.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add the lamb and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally and adding 1 more tbsp of olive oil as needed. Cook for about 8 minutes and transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Add onions and tomato paste to the drippings in the skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

4. Add broth, garbanzo beans, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon stick, ginger and lemon zest and bring to boil, scraping the browned bits.

5. Return lamb to skillet and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until lamb is tender, about 45 minutes.

1 Box Regular Couscous
2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
1-1/2 tbsp Butter
Bring stock and butter to boil, add couscous, turn off heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

This recipe may appear more intimidating than it looks. But its quite simple and most importantly delicious. The lamb meat was extremely tender and the flavors were perfection!

You may cast your vote starting this Monday, September 27th at 9AM EST. Voting ends Thursday, September 30th 9PM EST. I will post a reminder on Monday with detailed instructions for your convenience. 

Thank you again for all of your support. Please help me advance to the next round. Enjoy my friends!

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31 Reactions to this post

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  1. Lisa said... September 26, 2010 at 12:29 AM

    This looks absolutely stunning. After reading the recipe, it actually seems manageable. I'll have to keep this one on file for when I want to impress someone with my cooking skills. Great pick.

  2. Monet said... September 26, 2010 at 12:34 AM

    Out of all the places in the world...Morocco is where I want to visit next. This was a wonderful post, and I will certainly be voting for you on Monday morning. Your dish looks flavorful and unique...but it still seems very accessible. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sommer J said... September 26, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    One of my fave new cuisines I've tried this year is Moroccan!!! I, too, prefer lamb this way. Looks delicious, Lisa!

  4. jose manuel said... September 26, 2010 at 5:41 AM

    Me encanta este plato marroquí, se ve delicioso. Me comía un par de cucharadas.


  5. Dimah said... September 26, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    That tagine looks and sounds delicious!

  6. Federica said... September 26, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    fantastico questo piatto!!!!!stasera passo a cena da te!!:-)))))))) baci!!!

  7. Fun and Fearless in Beantown said... September 26, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    This looks wonderful. I've never tried Moroccan food but if this is any indication, I think I'd love it! Congrats on #pfb2010...hopefully we can both advance to the next round!

  8. Satya said... September 26, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    Hi Lisa,

    This moroccon lamb n rice combo looks very delicious and the blend of spices sounds so indian !! I guess morroccon cuisine n indian cuisine have a lot of things in common...wonderful entry for the contest ... will definitely vote for it...


  9. FOODalogue said... September 26, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Nice entry and good job on the history of Moroccan cuisine. Good luck!

  10. Pacheco Patty said... September 26, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    I love your Moroccan lamb dish- such wonderful spices, great choice for the challenge, good luck:)

  11. Angus Beef said... September 26, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Your tagine looks so flavorful and yummy! Also, congrats on moving on to round 2. Good luck!

  12. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said... September 26, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    I'd love some of this right now, please! I'm starving reading all this posts, they are making me drool all over myself. Great job, I can't wait to come back and vote!

  13. cooperl788 said... September 26, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    Oh yum! This looks really good. We don't buy lamb very often, but I do love to eat it. I like that this tangine recipe is (relatively) fast. Most of the ones I've tried take 2-3 hours of cooking in the dutch oven.

  14. Jan/Thella @ I Love. Therefore, I Cook. said... September 26, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    stunning dish! congratulations for making it to round 2 and i hope we all get to the third :) best of luck!

  15. aipi said... September 26, 2010 at 11:40 PM

    Indian and moroccan cuisine have a lot of similar spices,,love a lot of moroccan dishes n ingredients..You have made this beautifully a very well explained n nice recipe..I am impressed how you make dishes from different cuisines..
    congratulations for making it to round 2 .. you have my of luck!

    US Masala

  16. Lilia said... September 27, 2010 at 12:41 AM

    Wow, Lisa, I'm so impressed! You are so brave to tackle Moroccan cuisine for the second challenge and make it look effortless! The dish looks beautiful and I can just about smell the wonderful spices. 100 x kudos for you ;)

  17. MaryMoh said... September 27, 2010 at 3:14 AM

    I have never tried a Moroccan dish. That looks delicious. I must try one day. All the best for your Challenge 2!

  18. alison said... September 27, 2010 at 3:59 AM

    your mocrocane lamb is scrumptious,congrats for the round 1st and good luck for round 2nd!

  19. Mhel said... September 27, 2010 at 6:28 AM

    Thanks for taking time on reading my blog entry. You also have a marvelous dish!. I also had Lamb Tagine in mind before, just in case I won't be able to make the African Lamb Zigni. Im always fascinated with tagine recipes! Its so festive and flavorful. You sure have my vote!

  20. Ed (Weekend Food Projects) said... September 27, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    You know I love your work! Great job and you have my vote!

  21. said... September 27, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    You got my vote : ). Good luck in the next round!

  22. Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said... September 27, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    This sounds terrific Lisa! The flavor sounds great. I also came across the similar recipe on a magazine and I've been waiting to try it. You did a wonderful job! You sure got my vote!

  23. Magic of Spice said... September 27, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Gorgeous...beautiful entry :)

  24. Delishhh said... September 27, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    Moroccan all the way! I chose Moroccan too. You got my vote.

  25. Jean said... September 27, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    I love tagines and yours looks wonderful! Just voted for you!

  26. ~Lisa~ said... September 27, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    Thank you all and best wishes to those who have advanced to round 2! Thanks for your votes (=

  27. onlinepastrychef said... September 28, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    I love lamb. Mmmmm:) Beautiful dish. Best of luck in moving to Round 3--you have one of my votes!

  28. Whitney said... September 28, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Gorgeous and so informative lisa!!! you have my vote!

  29. Heather said... September 28, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Beautiful, as usual! :)

  30. Amelia PS said... September 28, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Moroccan cuisine is so fascinating...! lovely photos.

    You have one of my votes (see my post here - I tackled bisteeya:

  31. ~Lisa~ said... September 28, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    Thank you fellow feature publishers and readers for your votes. Best wishes and lets hope we all make it to the next challenge (=