With Thanksgiving around the corner and not everyone being a fan of the big bird, I thought I’d share an alternative festive dish for those guests who fancy dabbling a bit on the spice side of life. This is one of my favorite Moroccan dishes: Lamb Tangine with Apricots and Butternut squash.
It was this recipe that initiated me into the mysterious spice blend: ‘Ras El Hanout’. When I first tried to make this Tangine , I wasted an entire morning scouring Westchester County for this spice combo. Then, having failed to find it, ended up making my own from a veritable mountain of spices including: ginger, cardamon, mace, cinnamon, allspice, coriander seeds nutmeg, turmeric, black, white & cayenne pepper, anise seeds and cloves. Having gone to all that effort, you will not believe how incredulous I was when, later that day, I found a ready made jar of the stuff on the top of the spice shelves at DeCiccos in Ardsley!!
Well, whichever way you obtain your dose of Ras el Hanout, this recipe is a great showcase for it. The sweetness of the apricots stewed gently with the fragrant lamb and seasonal squash combine with the exotic blend of spices into a potent combo that the Moroccans just get 100% right
- 2 lb / 600g Stewing Lamb cut into 1/2″ / 2 cm pieces
- 8 oz / 200g Butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 8 oz / 200g soft dried apricots (I used Blenheim variety from California)
- 14 oz / 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups / 500 ml of beef stock
- Zest of a lemon
- Fresh chopped cilantro / coriander
- 1 tbsp of Ras el Hanout
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp of Olive Oil
- Preheat your oven to 400 f / 200c
- Saute the onion in a casserole dish for 5 minutes until it softens adding the garlic and all the spices, stirring for a further 2 minutes
- Then add the lamb, squash, tomatoes and stock season and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and place the casserole dish in the oven for one hour.
- Remove from the oven, take off the lid and stir, Place back in the oven uncovered for another 30 minutes
- Take out of the oven, dust with the coriander and zest
Serve this fabulous festive dish with warm couscous and a simple middle eastern style salad and (if you like) some cool plain yogurt.
A Moroccan Miracle!