Saturday, May 12, 2012

Moroccan-Style Lamb with Couscous

On a cool, Sunday evening, nothing tastes as delicious as stew.  Moroccan-Style means there is a sweet factor, with raisins, cinnamon and the warmth of cumin and cayenne.  I adore lamb, and was excited to finally give this recipe a try.  It comes from The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook and is super healthy, using sweet potatoes and garbanzo beans for added heartiness  For added greenery, I sauteed some greenbeans with garlic and red pepper flakes and served them up as our side.  Delicious with a light Pinot!

2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 large onion (12 ounces), cut into 8 wedges
1 can (14 1/2 to 16 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 cup water
2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 large), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups couscous (Moroccan Pasta)
1 can (15 to 19 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup dark seedless raisins
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Note from the Cookbook: Never buy pre-cut meat lableled "stew meat."  You will pay more and won't know what cut(s) of meat it is.  (This is also true for meat labeled "kabobs").  Often the butcher is trying to sell a less desirable cut, such as bottom round, which cooks up dry and stringy.  Instead, purchase a piece of boneless chuck, and cut it up yourself or ask the butcher to cut it for you . Be sure to tell him to cut the meat into two-inch chunks.  Many butchers cut stew meat into pieces that are much too small and therefore get overcooked and fall apart.  
All that being said, I bought pre-cut meat, and it saved me time and still tasted delicious.  

Pat lamb dry with paper towels.  In non-reactive 5-quart Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until very hot.  Add half of lamb and cook unti browned, using slotted spoon to transfer meat to bowl as it is browned.  Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining lamb.
To drippings in Dutch oven, add garlic, cumin, and coriander; cook 30 seconds.  Return lamb to Dutch oven. Stir in onion, tomatoes, cinnamon stick, salt, ground red pepper and water; heat to boiling over high heat.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes.  Stir in sweet potatoes; cover and simmer 30 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, prepare couscous as label directs.

Add garbanzo beans and raisins to Dutch oven.  Cover and cook, stirring once or twice until lamb and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes longer.
Just before serving, stir cilantro into stew.  Serve lamb stew on couscous.

Makes 8 main-dish servings.

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