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Moroccan Spiced Lamb Stew

Updated February 23, 2016

This stew, which is traditionally served with couscous, may be made with lamb, chicken, or a combination of the two, and you can add all kinds of different vegetables, including cabbage, turnips, zucchini, eggplant, and peppers. Quick-cooking couscous, with a little broth from the stew and fresh herbs, is very good and saves an immeasurable amount of time.

Cooking Methodstewing

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timeunder 2 hours

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, game day

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationkosher

Mealdinner

Moodfestive

Taste and Texturemeaty, rich, savory, spiced

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lamb shoulder or breast, trimmed of fat and gristle and cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 6 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
  • 2½ tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon crushed saffron threads
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 5 cups good-quality reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ pounds fennel bulbs with stalks, rinsed and trimmed, leaving 1/8 inch of the root base to hold the fennel together
  • 5 carrots, peeled, cut lengthwise in half and into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 14½-ounce can tomatoes, or 6 fresh tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, drained, and tied together with string
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, blanched briefly in boiling water, refreshed in cold water, and drained thoroughly
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups quick-cooking couscous
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

FIRST Put the lamb pieces, onions, garlic, ginger, saffron, cinnamon, and chicken broth in a 5-quart casserole with a lid. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

SECOND Cut each fennel bulb lengthwise in half, then cut the fennel into slices about ½ inch thick and 2 inches long. Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the seeds, and chop coarsely.

THIRD Add the carrots, fennel, tomatoes, and cilantro bundle to the lamb, stir, cover, and bring the stew again to a boil. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 40 to 45 minutes, skimming the surface with a spoon to remove any impurities. Add the chickpeas, stir, cover, and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Remove the cilantro bundle and discard.

FOURTH After the chickpeas have been added, prepare the couscous according to the package directions, substituting 1 cup of the lamb broth for 1 cup of the water. Fluff the cooked couscous with a fork to separate the grains, mix in the fresh cilantro, and spoon onto a platter. Ladle spoonfuls of lamb stew on top or serve separately. You may serve with bottled harissa sauce or some chile paste mixed with chopped garlic for extra flavor.

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