Have you ever noticed the amount of spices used in a particular cuisine is directly proportionate to the climate of the country? Of course in the old days that was due to lack of refrigeration and the need to disguise off flavors, but I gotta tell you, we're really glad Moroccan cooking hasn't changed much over the generations because we're lovin' the spicy heat.
Last night's dinner was a great example. If you're tired of the same old same old and looking for something just a tad different you'll find it here. Loaded with the sunny flavors of cumin, tumeric, and cayenne, the sweetness of cinnamon, honey and raisins and saltiness of green olives, this lamb casserole topped with a sweet potato cap was darn near perfect. The proof - utter silence except for the sound of forks hitting the ramekins and the odd groan of delight.
While I made use of the rest of our leftover leg of lamb that I'd saved in the freezer, you could certainly use fresh shoulder or even ground lamb for this one...or chicken, or pork just adjust the cooking time accordingly. It's certainly delicious enough to put on our regular rotation - no doubt about it.
Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie (adapted from myrecipes.com)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound leftover roast lamb, in half inch dice
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
11/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/3 cup pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons liquid honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water (or chicken stock)
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
2 medium sweet potatoes or ruby yams, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon butter
Spray 4 ramekins or 1 large casserole with cooking spray and set aside. Heat large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and when shimmering add onion. Cook until onion is transparent, then add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring often so garlic doesn’t burn. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, and salt. Add chicken stock, green olives, raisins, and honey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove cover. Stir together cornstarch and water and add to pan, stirring well until mixture is thickened to desired consistency. Stir in lamb and peas. Remove from heat and divide between prepared ramekins.
Meanwhile cook sweet potatoes in boiling water until done (10 minutes). Drain well and return to pot to dry over low heat. Add butter and mash potatoes. Place potatoes on top of lamb mixture in ramekins. Bake in 350 oven until bubbling – about 20 minutes. Download Moroccan Shepherds Pie
A year ago - Spring Vegetable Ragout