We have had a number of emails asking about Moroccan food, and recipes. So we decided to share three of our favourites. A couple of basic things you will need are a decent tagine that will fit in your oven, some preserved lemons ( see link below for a classic recipe) and some Moroccan spices. Most good food shops stock everything you need.
Chermoula can be used as a great dipping sauce for flatbread, but is traditionally used as a marinade**. Superb on fish but fine on any other meat - or even vegetarian tagines.
To make one cup:
1 well washed bunch of fresh coriander.
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed.
1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander and paprika.
1 small red chilli (remove the seeds!)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup of olive oil.
Blend to a rough textured paste with a food processor or mortar and pestle.
**For a marinade - add 1/2 a tablespoon of tomato paste, 3 extra tablespoons of olive oil, 2 generous pinches of good quality saffron and 1/3 of a cup of water. After coating fish or chicken in the marinade, assemble in tagine and pour remainder over entire dish.
Samir's fish tagine with preserved lemon and chermoula
Takes about 15 minutes to prepare and cooks for 90 minutes (Serves 8)
8 thick portions of white fish.
500 grams of sliced tomatoes.
3 large oniuons sliced.
1 green and 1 red pepper, sliced.
1 preserved lemon cut in thin strips.
1 generous cup of chermoula marinade.
Rub fish in marinade.
Cover the base of the tagine ( or deep earthenware dish) with a layer of half the onions and tomatoes and lemon strips.
Next add the fish and then the remaining onions, tomatoes, lemon strips and peppers.
Pour remaining chermoula over the top and place the tagine lid on firmly.
Cook at 150 celsius for ninety minutes and serve on a bed of couscous.
Note: You can substitute chicken or lamb for the fish.
Lamb Shanks with Dates and Olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 to 4 pounds lamb shanks
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 bay leaves, broken in half
2 sprigs plus 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup green Moroccan olives, either pitted or unpitted
1/3 cup capers with a little of the juice
1 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup palm sugar
12 large Medjool dates, unpitted
1/4 teaspoon harissa or two pinches hot red pepper flakes
Heat oil in a large, nonreactive, deep-sided pot with a lid, set over medium-high heat. When hot, add lamb shanks and brown on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
In a small bowl, mix together cumin, salt, pepper and thyme, then sprinkle this mixture over browned lamb. Add bay leaves, 2 parsley sprigs, olives and capers to pot. Pour wine and vinegar over lamb, then sprinkle brown sugar over the mixture. Cover pan tightly with a double thickness of aluminum foil, then with the lid.
Bake on center rack of preheated 375-degree oven for 45 minutes, then remove pot from oven and turn meat. Add dates; cover pan again with foil and lid, and continue to cook until meat is fork-tender, about 50 to 60 minutes more.
Remove pan from oven and uncover it. Stir in harissa or red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup water. (Lamb can be prepared two days ahead. Cool, cover it with foil and lid, and refrigerate. Reheat, covered with foil and lid, in 375-degree oven until hot, about 25 minutes.)
To serve, arrange lamb shanks over couscous mounded in a serving bowl or on a platter. Ladle sauce with dates and olives over lamb, then sprinkle with chopped parsley. With a sharp knife, slice lamb shanks before serving. You can also serve lamb individually by cutting lamb from shanks first. Mound some couscous in four shallow bowls and arrange meat on top, then ladle sauce over and sprinkle with parsley. Be sure to let everyone know there are pits in the olives, if you used unpitted ones.
Link: Preserved Lemon Recipe - Moroccan Preserved Lemon.
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