Welcome to the Kingdom of Morocco, country of Imazighens! The history of Moroccan cuisine, which is of Imazighens (Swassa, Ryafa and Zayanes), Jews, Andaloussi and Sahrawi origins, stretches back for several centuries and was able to adapt itself to changes and different modern ingredients from period to period. Moroccan cuisine is rated among one of the most cleverly balanced cuisines, with strong focus on rich flavours, aromas, texture, presentation, and perfect choice of spices and fresh ingredients, thus leading Moroccans to pride themselves on eating tasty, delicious and traditional food on a daily basis. Several Moroccan dishes have become increasingly popular now in other parts of the world (North of America, Australia and Western Europe) and it is no surprise that some neighbouring African countries have adopted the Moroccan Style Flavour. Welcome to my Blog!

27 Nov 2011

الغلمي بالحامظ وْ الزّعْفْرانْ/Moroccan Lamb with Preserved Lemon, Saffron and Olives /Moroccan Stew/Agneau au Citron Confit, Safran et Olives à la Marocaine!

الغلمي بالحامظ وْ الزّعْفْرانْ

Lamb goes beautifully with the preserved lemon, garlic and onions in this lovely stew.  If you like the melt-in-the-mouth meat that falls off the bone, you will absolutely like this dish.  Even though we call it  "Slow-Cooked Lamb", it does not mean an all-day cooking dish.  It is rather one pot-meal and with less washing-up to do.  All you need is few ingredients and few steps whose whole total cooking time is about 5 hours and let it go, emitting wonderful smells into your house.

This recipe is a Moroccan classic, a slow cooked lamb with a lot of onions, garlic, preserved lemon and fresh coriander/parsley.  Everything is cooked together, thus allowing all the ingredients and flavours to meld and complement each other.

I remember when I was 16, my mother asked me what I wanted for my birthday supper, and she was expecting my answer would be some sort of junk food meals, but I  actually asked her to make "Mrouziya" or "Mrouzia", an other Moroccan classic, a slow cooked lamb (sweet version), prepared with a delicious sauce made of caramelised onions, raisins, honey, and when the meat is ready, it is served with fried almonds.  My mother  smiled warmly in return and she prepared the most delicious Mrouziya I've ever tasted. I was not surprised, knowing that my mother was an adventurous cook who knew a lot about cooking all types of meat, using the best combinations for bringing out amazing flavour of it. This has definitively something to do with growing up at a time where people buy their meat from local farms or butchers instead of supermarkets.

This Moroccan classic talks "Tender" and traditionally, the meat is cooked over a charcoal brazier what we call in Morocco "Majmar" or " Kanoun".  I braised these pieces of meat for about 5 hours and I have returned to my charcoal roots and cooked the lamb on a "Kanoun", because I strongly believe that when it comes to real flavour, nothing can beat cooking over charcoal.  However, to reflect the demands made by a busy law practice, this dish could be cooked VERY slowly, on gas stove or in the oven on a low heat or even in a pressure cooker which will reduce the time by half. The slow cooking time is essential in this recipe, during which the connective tissue softens and gelatinises, and when served the meat becomes fall-apart tender.

I have seared and browned the outer, lean surface of the meat pieces, at a high temperature which helps to develop flavour through caramelisation, creating a very tasty meat.  However if you skip the browning step, I think you will still have a nice colour and texture of the outside due to the time in the slow cooker.

You can serve this meat with steamed couscous, or steamed rice, or other salads, or you could easily serve it with some vegetables such as roasted carrots or potatoes or parsnips or  turnips or courgettes, etc...  I think lamb made this way is easy, relatively inexpensive, and if surprisingly, you get any leftovers, use it for for lamb sandwiches.  So delicious!  The preparation and cooking can be done ahead, meaning you need just a few minutes to heat and serve your meal.  It can be served on large platters to share, or as individual portions.

Now I have to talk about one of the most controversial subjects in our kitchen:  Do you wash your meat or not? There has been much written on this little detail and I have received so many e-mails asking me why do I wash my meat?  Sorry if I don't have enough time to answer every e-mail.  I personally always rinse my meat, fish, seafood, chicken and the reason why I do that is that my mother did it, so I do it, too. Most of my friends do not rinse their meat and told me it's not good to rinse it! But having been around some butcher blocks, this just confirms to me that I have to continue rinsing my meat that I would eat and serve to my family.  I do not trust the basic hygiene sense at the block butchers, and other things that touches it.  When I buy my meat I cannot ask if the butcher block table has been maintained properly according to high standard of hygiene and cleanliness to prevent the growth of bacteria. Having said that, I will continue rinsing my meat, and the world continues to turn and my roof has not been struck by lightning or by any unpredictable phenomenon!
Here is my mother's recipe!
Mamatkamal


Serves 7 people / Pour 7 personnes
Preparation Time: 0 h 15 minutes / Temps de préparation: 0 h 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 h 00 minutes / Temps de cuisson: 5 h 00 minutes

Ingredients:

-1/2 medium sized preserved lemon, pulp and rind, finely minced / 1/2 citron confit de taille moyenne, peau et pulpe hachés finement
-4 medium onions, finely chopped / 4 oignons de taille moyenne, hachés finement

-About 2 kgs lamb meat, cut into 7 to 8 cm pieces.  Ask your butcher to do it for you. / Environ 2 kgs de viande d'agneau coupée en 7 à 8 cm.  Demandez au boucher de le faire pour vous.

-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped / 6 gousses d'ail hachées finement

-3 tablespoons fresh parsley and coriander leaves, chopped / 3 c à soupe de feuilles fraîches de persil et coriandre hachées finement

-1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper / 1/4 c à thé ou à café de poivre blanc moulu

-Pinch of ground black pepper / Une pincée de poivre noir moulu

-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger / 1/2 c à thé ou à café de gingembre moulu

-1/2 teaspoon  Khar9oum L'baldi or turmeric   / 1/2 c à thé ou à café de Khar9oum L'baldi ou curcuma

-Pinch pure saffron or safran threads (Since heat releases saffron's flavor essence and so to extract the best flavour out of it, always warm it gently in the frying pan (with no oil) for about 3 minutes, stiring frequentley, then still warm, crush it to a powder either with your hands or with the mortar and pestle)  / Une petite dosette de safran pur (Pour que le safran puisse dégager et conserver mieux son arôme, chauffer légèrement à sec les filaments de safran pendant environ 3 minutes en remuant constamment, ensuite, moudre les filaments dans un mortier ou dans le creux de la main).

-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil / 4 c à soupe d'huile d'olive extra-virgin

-1 tablespoon of Oudi (If you wish you can use Sman Har or simply butter) / 1 c à soupe d'Oudi (Si vous voulez, utilisez du Sman Har ou tout simplement du beurre)

Recette d'Oudi ou Sman ou Smen Lbaldi de la région de Souss du Maroc


-Some salt to taste / Un peu de sel selon le goût

-3 tablespoons green olives /3 c à soupe d'olives vertes

-1/2 preserved lemon (L'hamd or L'7amd mssayer). Rind only, cut lengthways into thin strips / 1/2 de citron confit (L'hamd ou L'7amd mssayer).  Ne gardez que la peau, puis couper-la en fines lanières

-About 100 ml hot water / Environ 100 ml de l'eau chaude


Method / Préparation:

1-Rinse the meat and dry with paper towels. / Laver les morceaux de la viande et éponger-les avec un essuie-tout.

For any questions regarding rinsing the meat, please read my answer in the introduction of this post. Thank you! / Pour toutes questions concernant le lavage de la viande, veuillez lire mon point de vue ci-haut. Merci!

2-Use a heavy aluminium bottomed pot or cast iron skillet or sauce pan, they are all ideal for slow cooking because they allow an even heat distribution which results in uniform cooking. / Il vaut mieux utiliser une grande marmite ou casserole à fond épais en aluminium ou les pots au feu, puisqu'ils sont idéals pour une cuisson lente.  Ils permettent une répartition homogène de la chaleur qui se traduit par une cuisson uniforme.

3-Pour oil into the pot, add Oudi and salt, then heat over medium-high heat. If you use a big pot, be sure to add enough oil. / Verser l'huile dans la marmite, ajouter Oudi et le sel, puis chauffer à feu moyen-vif. Si vous utilisez un trop grand pot, ajouter plus de l'huile.

4-When the oil is hot, add meat without overcrowding.  Then brown the meat on both sides./  Lorsque l'huile est chaude, ajouter  les morceaux de viande (Ne pas trop serrer les morceaux), puis les faire dorer de deux côtés.

5-Reduce heat to medium and add the onion and garlic, then let it cook uncovered, stirring frequently until light brown./ Réduire à feu moyen, puis ajouter l'oignon et l'ail et laisser cuire à découvert, en remuant fréquemment jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient légèrement dorés.

6-At this stage, I placed my pot over a charcoal brazier what we call in Morocco "Majmar" or " Kanoun"  to continue its cooking.  If you don't have one, just reduce heat to low and let cook. / Rendant à cette étape, j'ai alors placé ma marmite sur un brasier qu'on appelle au maroc "Majmar" ou "Kanoun" pour continuer sa cuisine. Pas de brasier, pas de problème! Il vous suffit de baisser le feu au minimum et laisser cuire doucement.
7-Add all spices, chopped preserved lemon, coriander, parsley then stir./ Ajouter toutes les épices, citron confit haché, coriandre et persil hachés puis remuer le tout.
8-Add water, cover then let cook slowly. / Ajouter de l'eau, couvrir puis faire cuire doucement et lentement.

9-During the slow cooking process, try not to touch that lid, unless you want to check the sauce level.  You can then add about 30 ml to 40 ml of hot water at a time if needed.  Remember each glimpse allows for significant heat to escape and eventually adding more extra-minutes to the cooking time. / Pendant le processus de cuisson lente, surtout ne soulevez pas le couvercle pour remuer.  Chaque fois que vous soulevez le couvercle, la chaleur s'échappe et le temps de cuisson doit être prolongée de quelques minutes de plus.  Il faut soulever le couvercle uniquement pour vérifier le niveau de la sauce, puis ajouter environ 30 ml à 40 ml de l'eau chaude.

10-After 5 hours of slow cooking, you may need to adjust the seasoning and remove any excess fat from the sauce with a spoon and discard.  By this time the meat should be meltingly soft and tender.  This is a beautiful, nice and tasty soft meat, really well worth the effort! / Après 5 heures de cuisson lente, vous aurez peut-être besoin d'ajuster l'assaisonnement ou de retirer l'excès de graisse de la sauce avec une cuillère.  Piquez la viande et elle doit être tendre et délicieuse, ça en vaut vraiment le coup!

N.B.Ten minutes before end of cooking, add the olives and place the rind of the preserved lemon on top of the meat. / Dix minutes avant la fin de la cuisson, ajouter les olives et placer la peau de citron confit sur la viande.
11-Carefully move the meat to a serving dish.  Traditionally, it is served with some French fries on top of the meat.  Transfer the remaining of fries to invidual plates or bowls./ Placer la viande soigneusement sur un plat de service. Traditionnellement, ce plat est servi avec des frites françaises sur le dessus de la viande, puis servir le reste des frites dans d'autres petites assietes individuelles.

12-Enjoy! Bssa7a w ra7a!

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