Moroccan Lamb with Prunes Recipe

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Eid is a time for food, family and celebration. Lamb is a popular dish because of the animal that is sacrificed. Below is a Moroccan dish I learned from my mother-in-law (with some variations). She made this last time I was in Morocco with my family and an animal was sacrificed in celebration of my second daughter’s birth.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 – 2 pounds of lamb meat on the bone (can be any part of the lamb)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t ginger
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • 1.5 t pepper
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Bundle of cilantro (tied in a knot)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of prunes (1/2 pound)
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T sugar
  • Handful of toasted, slivered almonds

Instructions:
Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil in a pressure cooker. (If you have no pressure cooker, a regular pot is fine but it will increase cooking time by about 1 hour). Add lamb and brown lightly on both sides. Remove lamb. Add all spices and mix with onion and garlic, simmering until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add 2-2.5 cups of water and the lamb. Put the cap on pressure cooker. Cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until lamb is falling off bone. Half-way through the cooking, reserve about 1/2 cup of the liquid. (Total cooking time will take close to 2 hours if you are using a regular pot).

In a small separate pot, heat prunes in enough water to cover the prunes. Boil for about 20 minutes then remove from heat. Add a little of this prune water (about 1/4 cup) to the pot of lamb. Dump the rest out. Now add the 1/2 cup of reserved cooking liquid from the lamb with the honey, sugar and prunes. Simmer on low for 5-10 minutes.

Toast the almonds in a little olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan until golden brown. Set aside.

Once the lamb is ready, lay it out on a serving plate with the sauce (remove the knot of cilantro you cooked with from the sauce). Pour prunes over the top. Sprinkle with almonds to garnish.

The traditional Moroccan way to enjoy this dish is with a loaf of fresh bread. You could also combine this with couscous and a side dish of veggies (but this would definitely not be a Moroccan pairing)!

Notes and Modifications:
Chicken stock instead of water is also great. You can also substitute chicken or any other type of meat instead of lamb and this is also equally as awesome. Just make sure the meat is on the bone or it will get tough if not. Finally, I prefer not to cook with sugar so I substitute all honey instead of sugar.

Please share with us your favorite Eid recipes in the comments section!

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