While beef is actually the most commonly consumed red meat in Morocco, it is the Moroccan style of cooking lamb that has truly taken hold in Australian kitchens, and for good reason. The combination of fragrant spices, fruit and honey helps to cut through the richness of the lamb, and the resulting braise has a wonderful balance of sweet and sour flavours. Served atop fluffy couscous, this is perfect cold weather food.
- 60 g butter
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ras el hanout
- ¼ tsp saffron combined with 2 tbsp water
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 kg boneless lamb neck, cut into 6 cm pieces
- 5 coriander sprigs, plus extra, to serve
- 2 quinces
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- couscous and lemon wedges (optional), to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match 2012 Balnaves The Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc), Coonawarra, SA ($19)
Melt half the butter and combine in a bowl with onions, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, ras el hanout, saffron mixture, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of pepper and 125 ml (½ cup) water. Transfer to a casserole pan then add lamb and coriander. Cut out a round of baking paper to fit snugly inside pan, place on top of lamb, then cover with lid (this will help to keep the lamb moist). Cook over low heat for 2 hours or until meat is almost tender.
Meanwhile, rub quinces with a clean, damp cloth to remove dirt and fuzzy skin. Cut each into quarters and remove core. Place quinces cut-side down in a large, deep frying pan. Add just enough water to cover, then add sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cut out a round of baking paper to fit snugly inside pan, place on top of quinces, then weigh down with a small plate to keep quinces submerged. Cook for 20 minutes or until just tender. Carefully drain off liquid, leaving 50 ml in pan. Increase heat to medium, add remaining 30 g butter, honey and ground cinnamon and cook, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until golden.
Transfer to casserole pan with lamb and cook for a further 1 hour or until lamb and quinces are very tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot with couscous, extra coriander and lemon wedges, if desired.
Photography by Brett Stevens. Food preparation Phoebe Wood. Styling Kristen Wilson.
As seen in Feast magazine, July 2014, Issue 33.