This fruit and lamb stew offers a gentle introduction to exotic Moroccan cuisine which has absorbed Berber, Moorish, Mediterranean, and Arab influences. Spices contribute to a complex flavor palate, rather than a fiery assault. Other unexpected flavors used in conjunction with meat include mint, olives, oranges, lemons, and parsley.
Servings: 6-8Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 4 to 9 hours
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds well trimmed, boneless leg of lamb or
lamb stew cut into 1- to 1-1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-1/2 oz can unsalted chicken broth
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup dried apricots, halved or quartered
Hot, cooked couscous (or rice)
(Optional: lemon zest, orange zest, chopped mint, or chopped parsley)
1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds
Orange or lemon peel curl (optional)
In a shallow mixing bowl combine turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, and salt. Pat meat dry as possible, then coat meat with seasoning mixture. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown meat, one-third at a time, in the hot oil. As each third is browned, transfer meat to a 4-quart slow cooker. Add onions, and garlic; gently stir to combine. Pour chicken broth over all.
Cover and cook on low heat for 7 to 9 hours or on high heat for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Skim fat from the surface. (Drag a corner of a paper towel across the surface.)
Add dates and apricots; stir to combine. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more or until mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly.
Prepare couscous or rice with one or more of the following accents: lemon zest, orange zest, chopped mint, or parsley. To serve, spoon stew atop couscous or rice. Top with almonds. Garnish with additional citrus peel curls. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
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