January 5, 2008
paninigirl

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Moroccan Nights

Another dinner, another new cookbook! A few years ago I was thrilled to find a Indian cookbook that was easy to use and everything I made tasted so authentic. It’s by Suvir Saran and is called Indian Home Cooking. Before attempting any of the recipes, I made a list of the many necessary spices that I didn’t have in the cupboard and ordered them from Penzeys. You’re probably thinking “Why are you talking about Indian food when the title of this post is “Moroccan Nights”? Well, Suvir has written another great book, this one named American Masala. In it he has included recipes, not only for Indian food, but for Amercian dishes using the more exotic spices and also other favorites from his kitchen. The first dish that I tried from this book was for a lamb stew with moroccan flavors. I served this warm pita bread and a big salad with feta cheese and pine nuts. This is another one of those dishs that just improves overnight in the fridge.

Moroccan Lamb Stew

2 pounds lamb stew meat, cubed (shoulder or leg)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground peppercorns
Juice of 1/2 lime

Place lamb and all the above in a bowl (or large baggie) and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 green cardamom pods
2 inch piece cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1-1/2 piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 pounds turnips peeled and chopped into cubes (I used butternut squash instead)
2 red onions, halved and each half cut in thirds, lengthwise
2 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 large red potato, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon mace (I didn’t have so I omitted)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
Lime wedges for serving

Place oil and butter on large pot over medium heat along with cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, pepper flakes and peppercorns until butter melts. Then add chopped ginger and cook until it begins to brown, stirring often. Add lamb and stir to coat with spices. Cook unitl the lamb begins to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Mash 1/2 cup chickpeas and set aside. Stir in remaining whole chickpeas, turnips, onions, carrots, potato and garlic into the pot with lamb and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the ground coriander. cayenne, ground ginger, mace and salt. Cook until the pot is nearly dry, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, mashed chickpeas and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the lamb is falling apart and the turnips break apart, about 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

If you happen to find yourself in New York City and would like to experience authentic Indian food, drop by Devi, Suvir Saran’s restaurant there.

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