Moroccan Lamb Casserole with Preserved Lemons

I refuse to be one of those foodies who turn their nose up at magazine rack food rags.  A great recipe is a great recipe, no matter from where it originates.   This one is from “Ultimate Casseroles” special publication (pg 57) that hit stands courtesy of Better Home & Gardens in 2012.

I have made some great changes in quantity but the recipe ingredients remain the same. This recipe is a true favorite in our growing household.  Minced lamb sautéed with vegetables, Israeli couscous, fresh ground Cumin, garlic, ginger, and lemon.  Hhhhmmmmmm.

It’s quick, savory, and perfect with a chilled bottle of dry Rose or medium- to light- bodied red wine.  You don’t want too heavy a red as it will overwhelm the luscious Moroccan spices and luxury of preserved Meyer lemons.

Note: You must, must, must have a mortar and pestle.  For the love of God! A mortar and pestle may seem like one of those odd kitchen gizmos but there is a reason every good cook has one.  Why every kitchen stock carries them always.  I use mine several times a week!  At the very least the pestle “wakes up” dried herbs and fantastically helps “muddle” the flavors of even the simplest dishes, rendering them scrumptious.  You don’t want stale herbs.  Then you have flat food.

 

Recipe: MOROCCAN LAMB CASSEROLE WITH PRESERVED MEYER LEMON

  • Israeli Couscous (at least 1 cup dried) – you should have 1-2 cups ready couscous
  • ½ cup rinsed and chopped preserved Meyer lemon (see specialty or higher end markets) or 1+ tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1 & ½ teaspoon ground Cumin seeds (use your Mortar & Pestle!!)
  • 2-3 minced fresh garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh Ginger (peel skins first)
  • ½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1&1/2 ground Lamb
  • 2 medium or large carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into thin wedges
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes  (undrained) – *optional
  • ¾ cup golden plump raisins
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • a few turns of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for serving

Preheat oven to 350’F

In a small bowl, combine preserved Meyer lemons, cumin, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon.  Set aside.  *Can do this well in advance for stronger flavors!  

Cook couscous according to package directions.

In a large skillet, cook ground lamb, carrots and onions until meat is brown.  Stir in coked couscous, lemon mixture, tomatoes (*optional), raisins, salt and pepper.  Mix well.

Transfer mixture into a cute 2 to 2 & ½ Qt Dutch Oven for good baking and pretty serving.

Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until heated through.  (Note to bake it covered should you omit the tomatoes.)

Toast almonds in a small pan while casserole is cooking.  Chop cilantro.  Place in separate bowls for serving.  

Makes 4-6 servings.

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