Marrakech Lamb Stew

Friday, November 06, 2009

This is my version of the Moroccan lamb stew I mentioned about a month ago when I wrote about cooking as a hobby and posted a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala that always turns out really well. LB had fellow "Rearden Metal Chef" SB make that and wrote back that they enjoyed it. (Actually, based on what I've read, I suspect that he's a far better cook than I am.) At the time, LB expressed interest in hearing about this stew some time, so here it is with the following caveat: This is my first time to present a recipe I may still tinker with. (I have a couple of others -- a Greek cinnamon stewed chicken and a chicken curry casserole -- like this on the backburner, too, but neither is as close to being set in stone.) [Update: Slightly revised recipe seems to be fine the first day.]

I would say that the recipe as I present it here is good, but it is not as good as the Chicken Tikka Masala for the following mildly frustrating reason: While it's fine right after I make it, the leftovers are far superior in flavor, to the point that I wonder whether I should incorporate a new step like the following into the recipe. "Mix with rice and refrigerate overnight. Microwave and serve." I'll probably end up doing that or perhaps see whether making it in a crock pot helps. The flavors evidently need to meld or mature. That said, it certainly smells great while I'm cooking it.

So, without further ado, I present my version of this Marrakech Lamb Stew. Aside from my usual rewrite for ease of execution, my changes were to: halve the amount of rice, double the amount of almonds (and stir them in after crushing them), double the amount of beef stock, use only one turnip, and add dates. (This Middle Eastern/Saharan dish already includes fruit, so why not?) It worked well with either a 50/50 mix of lamb and beef or all lamb meat. It would probably be okay with all beef, but since lamb has a distinctive flavor, I think it wouldn't be quite as good.

-- CAV


Marrakech Lamb Stew

Preparation Time is 75 minutes.

Ingredients (List: mls)

beef bouillon cubes, 2
salt, 1 tsp
cinnamon, 1/4 tsp
cumin, 1 tsp
coriander, 1 tsp
cloves, 1 tsp
turmeric, 1 tsp
cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp
nutmeg, 1 pinch
allspice, 1 pinch
boneless lamb or beef, 1.5 lb
olive oil, 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
onion, large white
minced garlic, 2 tsp
carrots, 5 medium
stewed tomatoes, 1 can
turnip, 1 medium
potato, 1 medium
chickpeas, cooked, 1 can
prunes, pitted, 1 cup (16-20)
dates, pitted, 1 cup (16-20)
raisins, 1/2 cup (about one small box)
parsley, chopped, 2 tbsp
rice or couscous, 2 1.5 cups
almonds, slivered, 4 tbsp


1. In parallel with the nest few steps, bring 2 cups water for broth to boil, dissolve beef bouillon cubes, remove from heat and cover.

2. Measure salt and spices (except parsley) and set aside in bowl.

3. In parallel with step 4, prepare the meat: If necessary, thaw and chop meat into bite-sized pieces. Heat 2 tbsp oil in large soup pot, brown meat in batches and set aside and leave in pot.

4. Chop onion and set aside in bowl with garlic.

5. In parallel with step 5, stir onion and garlic into meat drippings and sauté until translucent and tender.

6. In parallel with steps 5 and 7, chop carrots, turnip, and potatoes. Set chopped items aside in bowl (if still sautéing onions) or add to pot (if cooking stew).

7. Return meat to pot. Add carrots, tomatoes, turnips, potato, broth, and spices and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes.

8. In parallel with step 8, toast and crush the almonds.
  • Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a small skillet.
  • Add almonds, and cook over moderate heat while stirring constantly, until golden brown (about 5 minutes).
  • Transfer the almonds to a plate and allow them to cool.
  • Place cooled almonds in plastic bag. Crush with knife handle or rolling pin.
9. Chop and, if necessary, separate pits from prunes. Set prunes and raisins aside.

10. In parallel with the remainder of step 7, prepare rice or couscous.

11. Stir in chickpeas, dried fruit, and almonds. Cover and cook about 10 minutes more.

12. Stir in parsley.

13. Serve on a bed of couscous or rice.


1. To carry on the theme, serve with olives and warm pita bread--and for dipping, add some good olive oil, baba ganoush and/or hummus.


: Updated recipe after accidentally skipping a step and finding the taste vastly superior on the first day.

No comments: