Thursday, February 1, 2018

Weeknight Coconut Lamb Curry with Winter Veggies and Greens

This is a simple curry recipe chock full of delicious winter veggies and perfect for weeknights. The coconut milk is a nice addition and adds an exotic note to the end of a long day. Peeling and chopping the vegetables will take the most time. If you are in a rush, peel and chop the veggies the night before or in the morning to save time at dinner time. Add the spinach just before serving. Serve on brown or white rice.

This is a large recipe loaded with lots of vegetables. It will feed at least 6 and makes great leftovers. If you want to make a smaller amount, cut down on the veggies.

1 medium onion
5 cloves garlic - minced
1 pound Leyden Glen ground lamb
1 1/2 Tablespoons curry powder *
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 butternut squash
4 small carrots 
1 sweet potato
1 cup chicken stock or water
1 can coconut milk (13 1/2 oz.)
Large handful of spinach or greens of your choice

Prepare the vegetables: Chop the onion. Mince the garlic. Peel the sweet potato, carrots and squash. Cut the orange veggies into pieces of a similar size so that they will cook at the same rate. The smaller the pieces are, the quicker they will cook. 

Cook onion in a large pan until just beginning to soften. Add the minced garlic. Cook for a minute. Stir the curry powder and grated ginger into the onions and cook until it begins to smell good - this doesn’t take long. Add the ground lamb. Break into crumbles and cook until it is no longer colored. Add the stock and coconut milk. 

Add the sweet potatoes, squash and carrots. Cook until all the veggies are done to your liking - about 15 minutes depending on the size of the veggies. If it gets too dry, add a bit more water. The goal is to have a bit of sauce to sink into the rice. Just before serving, add the handful of spinach and let wilt. 

The curry can stay overnight in the fridge. If holding it until the next day, omit the spinach. Warm on stovetop and add the spinach just before serving. Serve on white or brown rice with hot sauce. 

* Curry Powder - You can make your own curry powder. Here is a recipe I have made from one of my favorite cookbook authors Patricia Wells. Give it a try. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Easy Greek Inspired Lamb Burgers with Feta and Olives

4 oz. feta cheese, drained and crumbled
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives - chopped 
2 Tablespoons chopped red onion or a small shallot chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
freshly ground pepper
1 pound Leyden Glen Farm ground lamb

Mix all ingredients except ground lamb in a large bowl. Add the ground lamb and mix everything thoroughly with your hands. 

Form into 3 or 4 patties. Let set to firm up for about 1/2 hour in the refrigerator. 

Pre-heat your grill. When it is good and hot, cook for about 5 minutes per side.

Serve topped with lettuce and yogurt sauce (below). 

For Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup (8 oz) yogurt - preferably Greek
1 small cucumber - peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill or fresh if available
1 minced garlic clove (for garlic lovers)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve drizzled over burgers. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Classic Rack of Lamb

This is a very easy recipe to make and oh so impressive!

1 rack of lamb - approximately 1 1/2 lbs.
Each rack will have 7 ribs and will serve 2 to 3 people.

Mustard Smear
1 large garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons melted butter

Mash the garlic and mix with the salt to make a paste. Mix in the mustard, herbs and oil. Set aside.

Score the fat on the rounded part of the rack. Salt and pepper the rack. Using your hands, smear the mustard mixture on the top and sides of the rack. At this point, you can cook the rack or hold in the refrigerator for a day. 

Bring the rack to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roast the rack of lamb for 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs over the top of the rack and drizzle with the butter. If the rib bone ends are beginning to color, wrap with some foil. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes more, depending on size of rack and your taste. Using an instant read thermometer, check for doneness in the flesh part of the rack - not near the bone. 

For rare - 125 degrees F
For medium - 145 degrees F
For well-done - 160 degrees F

Pull from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into chops following the rib bones. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Moroccan Spiced Meatballs

In Morocco, meat is often cooked with dried fruit in traditional tagines. These meatballs combine Moroccan spices with currants to make a very tasty, yet quick dinner or nice appetizer. If you don't have currants, you can substitute dried prunes, figs, raisins or apricots. Cut the dried fruit into 1/4 inch pieces so they will be distributed through the meat mixture. If they are old, soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes before mixing with the meat. 

Moroccan Spiced Meatballs

2 slices day old bread - crust removed
milk for soaking bread
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you like things spicy)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg - beaten
1/3 cup currants
Oil for sauteing

Soak bread in a shallow bowl in milk for 10 minutes. Break into pieces and put in food processor. Process quickly into bread crumbs. (Alternately use 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs.) Place in a mixing bowl.

Using food processor, mince the garlic. Cut onion into pieces and place in food processor. Mince.

In a bowl, place all ingredients except for currants. Using your hands, mix thoroughly. Add the currants and mix.

If you have time, let the meat mixture set overnight or for a few hours in the fridge. This will make the meatballs easier to form.

Shape into 20 to 24 meatballs.

Heat oil in large pan. When oil is very hot, fry meatballs in two batches. When bottom of meatball is brown, turn and cook top half. (Alternately, bake at 400 degrees on a greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Broil until the top becomes colored. The meatballs better retain their round shape when baked.)

Meatballs can be made ahead of time, covered and re-heated. Serve with yogurt for dipping.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Anchovy, Garlic, and Rosemary Roasted Lamb

6 garlic cloves
9 flat anchovy filets, drained and patted dry
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 (6 to 7 pound) bone-in leg of lamb
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Marinate lamb:
Remove all but a thin layer of fat if leg is fatty. Mince garlic and anchovies and mash to a paste with a large heavy knife, then stir together with oil and rosemary in a small bowl. Pat lamb dry and transfer, fat side up, to rack in pan. Make several small 1-inch-deep slits in lamb with a paring knife, then rub marinade over entire surface of lamb, pushing some marinade into slits. Marinate lamb, loosely covered, at room temperature 1 hour.

Roast lamb:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400ºF.
Sprinkle lamb all over with salt and pepper, then roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb (almost to the bone but not touching it) registers 125ºF for medium-rare, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours (temperatures in thinner parts of leg may register up to 160ºF). Note that the lamb cooks faster than you think. If you prefer rare meat, take care not to overcook. 

Let stand 15 minutes before slicing. Lamb will continue to cook while standing.

NOTE: If roasting a half leg of lamb, shorten your cooking time by at least 1/2 hour. An instant read meat thermometer is your friend. Check meat temperatures often to avoid overcooking.

French Style Roasted Leg Of Lamb

2 cups red wine
2 cups balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon herbes de provence
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 leg of lamb
1 cup Dijon mustard
10 cloves garlic, mashed through a garlic mincer

Combine red wine, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, herbes de provence and olive oil. Pour into large bowl or zipper bag that is big enough to hold your lamb. Submerge the leg in the liquid and let it sit overnight or for a few hours. 

Remove leg from marinade and place in a baking pan. Mash the garlic and mix it with the mustard. Slather the lamb with the mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Pour the marinade into the pan and cover with foil. Turn down to 350 degrees and continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb (almost to the bone but not touching it) registers 125ºF for medium-rare, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (temperatures in thinner parts of leg may register up to 160ºF). During cooking, you can continue to baste the lamb with the marinade. Note that the lamb cooks faster than you think. If you prefer rare meat, take care not to overcook. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing. Lamb will continue to cook while standing.

Optional:  Add peeled potatoes, and carrots to the bottom of the pan and roast with the lamb. These will not need as long as the meat so add them half way through the cooking time.

NOTE: If roasting a half leg of lamb, shorten your cooking time by at least 1/2 hour. An instant read meat thermometer is your friend. Check meat temperatures often to avoid overcooking.

Illustration by Kristin Nicholas

Monday, November 10, 2014

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Apricots, Raisins, and Almonds

This is an easy to make Moroccan style stew adapted from *David Lebovitz' My Paris Kitchen. Moroccan stews are usually called tagines and are traditionally cooked in a special ceramic vessel. I have Americanized this recipe by using a dutch oven. You can also use a slow cooker. 

I like to make this stew on Sunday mornings so that the house is filled with the lovely aromas all day long. This recipe in particular smells so good - cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, saffron and ginger combined with the aroma of lamb will make you feel warm inside. It will taste better the second, third and fourth days as the spices have a chance to meld. Omit the cayenne if you are serving children. The saffron is a bit of a splurge but you only need a pinch to add the lovely flavor.

Moroccan Lamb Stew is a great supper for the middle of the week - cook up a little basmati rice, warm up the stew and you are ready to eat!

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
kosher salt
2 pounds lamb shoulder chops or shoulder roast or lamb shanks
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
dash of cayenne pepper if you like things spicy (I omit)
pinch of saffron threads 
1 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
2 cups water
1 pound carrots
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds

To serve - cooked basmati rice (as shown), couscous, or small pasta

1. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Heat olive oil in dutch oven. Cook the onion and garlic until the onions are translucent. 
2. Rub the lamb with salt. Brown the meat on all sides in the pan with the cooked onions. Remove the lamb and set aside.
3. Mix the ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, cinnamon, black pepper, ground ginger, ground turmeric, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Add it to the cooked onions in the dutch oven. Cook for a couple minutes until the spices start to smell good. 
4. Add the water, the saffron, and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir so it is all mixed nicely. 
5. Add the browned lamb to the dutch oven and cover with a lid. Add some more water if necessary - the lamb should be half submerged. Place in a 250 oven and cook for 4 hours. Half way through, flip the lamb over.
6. Chop the apricots into pieces about 1/2". Remove stew from oven. Add the apricots and raisins to the stew.
7. Peel the carrots and chop into 1/4" slices. Add to the stew.
8. Return the dutch oven to the oven for another hour or so until the carrots are cooked through and the lamb pulls easily off the bones. Alternately, finish it on top of the stove by simmering. The apricots will dissolve and become part of the sauce.
9. Let the stew cool and place in refrigerator overnite. In the morning, skim the fat that is on the surface. Remove the bones from the shoulders (they should pull out easily). 
10. To serve, cook some basmati rice, couscous or small pasta shape. Toast the almonds in a frying pan, taking care not to burn. Heat the stew on top of the stove and serve over the grain. Top with the toasted almonds.

*David Lebovitz is a cookbook author and blogger who lives in Paris. While famous for his many dessert cookbooks, his latest 2014 book - My Paris Kitchen - is full of great recipes and stories about living in Paris. Check out his great blog here.

Portuguese Lamb Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup

This is a super simple soup that is traditional to Portugal. Caldo Verde is easy to make and very good for you. I use our Leyden Glen Lamb Sweet Sausage which complements the potatoes and kale. I prefer Lacinato Kale which is a little less curly and easy to cut into ribbons. You could also substitute other greens such as collards.

1 large onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 pound lamb sausage
2 quarts chicken stock 
2 pounds potatoes - peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks
2 tomatoes, chopped into 1/4" pieces
1 large bunch kale
salt and pepper

1. Peel and chop the onion. Mince the garlic. (This seems like a lot of garlic but I sometimes add more - we love garlic here at our farm!) 
2. Add the olive oil to a large soup pot. Add the onions and garlic. Over medium heat, cook until the onions are translucent taking care that the garlic doesn't burn and turn bitter.
3. Once the onions are done, add the lamb sausage and brown on all sides over medium heat. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside to cool.
4. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, and tomatoes. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. The potatoes should not be completely cooked because they will cook some more.
5. While the soup is cooking, remove the ribs from the kale. Cut the kale into bite size ribbons. When the sausage is cool, cut it into 1/4" slices or into 1/4" chunks depending on your preference.  
6. Add the kale and the sausage to the stock pot and cook for another 20 minutes until the kale is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6 to 8 people. Nice with a hunk of bread and a green salad for lunch or a weeknight dinner.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grilled Pitas Stuffed with Lamb Burger

It's always fun to find a recipe that is like nothing you have ever seen or eaten before. This recipe is adapted from the July 2014 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. The preparation is easy - mix up some ground lamb with spices. Smoosh the lamb mix inside some round pita bread. Grill it over a hot fire. Serve it with our favorite yogurt sauce for dipping. 

These would work as an appetizer too - Cut the grilled and stuffed pitas into triangles and pass them with the dipping sauce as a finger food. 

1 pound Leyden Glen ground lamb
1 small onion, grated finely on a box grater
1 garlic clove put through a garlic press
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 medium pita breads (I used the Sahara brand)

Mix all ingredients except pita bread in a bowl and let set for an hour or overnight. 

About an hour before grilling, cut around the outside of each pita so they form a half open clamshell. Divide the ground meat mixture in 4 and using your fingers, smoosh the meat into the pitas, pushing it into all the crevices. The meat should be pushed to the edges of the pita - kind of like an oreo cookie. Press down on them and cover with plastic wrap until ready to grill.

Light the grill and preheat it to high. Brush both sides of each stuffed pita with a little olive oil. Grill the pitas for about 5 minutes per side until the meat is cooked through. You should have grill marks like on the photo. Serve with yogurt sauce for dipping and a green salad.

Yogurt Sauce
1 cup (8 oz) yogurt - regular or Greek
juice of half lemon
1 tsp. ground cumin1 tsp. kosher salt
pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and let sit to combine the flavors.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Autumnal Provencal Inspired Lamb and Butternut Squash Stew

Here is an autumnal recipe that can be stretched to feed a crowd by increasing the amount of butternut squash and serving over a grain of your choice. Take care when cooking the squash at the end of the preparation. You don’t want it to turn to mush but want the chunks to remain so that it will be more visually pleasing. If it does, no worries - it will still taste delish. As with all stews, it can be made a few days ahead and kept in the fridge to let the flavors develop.


1 1/2 to 2 lbs. lamb shoulder chops, stew meat, or leg slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil      
1 large onion, peeled and chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine  
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 small 14 oz. can tomatoes cut up or 1 pound tomatoes chopped small
1 1/2 cups liquid - stock (lamb, chicken, or beef), red or white wine or water  
1 large butternut squash - 2 to 3 pounds
1 teaspoon maple syrup or sugar
parsley for garnish

In a dutch oven or large lidded pot, brown the lamb in one tablespoon oil on both sides. If it won’t all fit, brown in two batches. Set aside. Chop the onions and garlic fine. Add the remaining oil to the pan and loosen any bits of lamb. Cook the onions and garlic in the oil until soft taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes, herbes de Provence, salt, pepper and liquid and stir. Bring just to a boil on the stove and take off the heat. Return the lamb to the pot.

Place in a 325 degree oven and cook covered for 2 to 3 hours (or at 250 for 4 to 5 hours). Alternately simmer on the top of the stove over low heat for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is falling apart and off the bone. Let cool and remove the bones, returning shredded lamb to pot with sauce.

Alternately, cook in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours. Finish the stew following the instructions below.

While the meat is cooking, peel the squash and cut into one inch cubes. Once lamb is returned to pot, add butternut squash and cook uncovered on top of the stove until the squash can be pierced with a knife and is tender. If using a slow cooker, cook the squash on the stove separately, then add to the stew and heat through.

Stir the sugar or maple syrup through the stew at the end - it will bring out the sweetness in the squash. Garnish with parsley.

If you have time, let the stew sit overnight in fridge to let the flavors develop.
Serves 6 to 8 people.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Harira - Traditional Maghreb Soup from North Africa

Harira is a traditional soup of northwest Africa called the Magherb. My recipe includes tiny meatballs made of a spicy lamb mixture called merguez. If you are short on time, skip the meatball step, brown the ground lamb and then carry on with the Harira recipe. As with all soups, they are always better the second day so the spices blend and mellow. 
Merguez Meatballs

1 tsp. fennel seeds         
1 pound ground lamb
3 garlic cloves            
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander        
1 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons hot sauce (or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne - more if you like it spicy)

Place fennel seeds in a pan and toast lightly on the stove. Watch them closely so they don’t burn. Place toasted fennel in a small food processor with garlic and process until chopped. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  If you have time, let the meat mixture set in the fridge overnight. This makes it easier to form into meatballs and lets the flavors develop.

Pinch off a small amount and roll into 1/2 to 3/4” meatballs. This sounds very small but the small size fits into a spoon and is perfect for this soup. Follow the recipe below for the soup.

Harira Soup

1 pound lamb merguez meatballs (see above)    
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion             
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery            
8 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1 small can tomatoes (14.5 oz)            
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cinnamon                
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. paprika (hot if you prefer)            
1 tsp. coriander
1 packet saffron (.13 grams)            
1 tsp. salt
2 quarts chicken, lamb or vegetable stock    
3/4 cup French green lentils
2 cans chickpeas                
1/2 cup Israeli couscous (or other very small pasta or rice)
fresh parsley and cilantro to garnish        
one lemon - sliced

In a large soup pot, brown the meatballs in the olive oil. Set the cooked meatballs aside. Cook the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until onions are transparent in the remaining oil and lamb fat. Add the tomatoes, spices, stock and lentils. Cook until the lentils are cooked through - about 30 minutes.  Add the chickpeas, couscous (or pasta or rice) and reserved meatballs. Cook until the pasta is done.  Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

If you have time, let the Harira sit for a day refrigerated. Serve with fresh parsley, cilantro and a squirt of lemon. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Indian Spiced Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

Are you looking for something interesting to cook using our Leyden Glen Lamb? But you're stretched for time? Here's a really tasty recipe which makes a great quick supper or a nice appetizer at a party. Not difficult or time consuming!

This recipe is great to take to a party or serve as an "exotic" appetizer. I took it to a potluck one night and the meatballs were gone in 10 minutes!

Indian Spiced Meatballs

1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, mashed in a garlic press
1 teaspoon ground ginger (alternately use grated fresh ginger)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you like things spicy)

Mix all together. If you have time, let it sit in the fridge overnight. Form into meatballs using a tablespoon measure of ground mixture per meatball. Bake in oven or saute on top of stove until cooked through. 

Meatballs can be made ahead of time and re-heated. Serve with Yogurt Sauce and Indian Chutney.

Yogurt Sauce
1 cup yogurt (either Greek or regular)
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
pepper to taste

Mix together and let sit overnight if you have time to let flavors develop. I always make a double batch of the yogurt sauce because it is so delicious!
I made a big batch of Apple and Tomato Chutney making a version of this recipe from the UK. It is really tasty and besides being a nice dip for the Indian Spiced Meatballs, it tastes great on crackers with cheddar cheese. It was really easy to make and made the house smell great!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mrouzia - Lamb with Honey, Almonds, and Raisins

This weekend marks the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. This holiday is also known as The Feast of the Sacrifice. You can read about it here. We learned about this holiday a couple years ago when the "lamb line" started ringing off the hook. We had just had our Leyden Glen Lamb website built and all of a sudden, we were on the Muslim Culinary Map!

About a month before Eid each year, the phone begins to ring. 
Caller: "Do you have any lambs available?"
Us: Yes we do. Would you like them cut up and frozen or live?
Caller: Live.
Us: This is for Eid? You need a in-tact male (not castrated)?
Caller: Yes. 
Us: How many do you need?
The conversation goes on. We explain that if the customer slaughters the lamb at our farm there is an extra charge for disposing of all the innards. (Learned that the hard way.... Do you know how much stuff comes out of a lamb? How messy and disgusting it is? How fast the flies arrive? It's a lot of extra work for us and we need to be compensated!)

This week we are busy sorting and catching male lambs for families who will be celebrating Eid. Our home grown lambs are being used for family celebrations throughout Massachusetts. We didn't have enough male lambs available for all the phone calls. One of our Muslim customers compared Eid to American Thanksgiving. I like that! It has been really interesting learning about different holidays where lamb and mutton is the traditional meat.

Millions of Muslim people all over the world celebrating Eid, sacrificing male lambs, and enjoying a feast with their families. In Senegal, there is a t.v. show called Khar Bii (This Sheep). You can listen to a story on NPR here. It has become very popular - good article online here about the show and its producer. I watched Khar Bii on YouTube. Couldn't understand a word but found it interesting anyway. The "beautiful sheep" were all rams, many raised on top of the owner's homes in specially built enclosures. Sheep are highly prized animals in Senegal. The producer of Khar Bii says this about sheep:
"Sheep is a sacred animal. When Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son to prove his faith, the ram — the magic animal — appeared and sacrificed itself in place of Abraham's son. So, this ultimate sacrifice is the reason why here in Senegal, we believe that having a sheep in the house is protecting the house. It is protecting us from bad spirits. And the sheep will always sacrifice itself instead of us."
Fascinating how different countries have different pet animals. 

Today's recipe comes from Morocco. It is called Mrouzia and is a traditional stew of lamb, honey, raisins, almonds and spices. I found the recipe in the November 2012 issue of Saveur but I have tweaked it some to suit our family's tastes (the magazine's version was way too sweet). It has interesting flavors and our family really enjoyed it. The recipe is different than one I grew up with but when we ate it, we couldn't help but say that if one grew up with this meal, it would be a real treat. The combination of honey with the lamb, almonds and spices is different but delicious. Mrouzia is one of those great fix it and forget it meals. Give it a try and celebrate Eid with people all over the world. 

(Lamb Braised with Honey, Almonds and Raisins)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder chops or stew meat
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion - chopped fine (can be done in food processor)
2 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons Ras El Hanout*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup blanched almonds
1 cup golden raisins
2 Tablespoons honey

*Ras El Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend. If you can't find it at a gourmet store, here is a recipe for it. Otherwise, substitute 1 teaspoon each ground coriander, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon allspice, ground cloves.)

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven. Brown lamb shoulder chops on both sides. Remove to a plate to hold.

Melt butter in Dutch oven. Saute onions and garlic until transparent. Add spices and stir. Add 3 cups of water. Return lamb to pot. Bring to a boil and then place in 250 degree oven and cook very slowly for 2 1/2 hours. Remove pot from oven and add almonds, raisins, and honey. Return to oven and cook for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours adding extra liquid if it has evaporated. The lamb is done when it is falling off the bones. Remove and let cool.

NOTE: If you won't be home to add the almonds and raisins half way through the cooking, add them in the beginning. They may be a little softer but just as tasty.

If you have time, let the Mrouzia sit for a day or two in the refrigerator. Skim the excess fat off the top of the pot before warming. If there is too much sauce, cook without a lid to let the sauce thicken. Serve over rice or couscous.

Alternately, cook everything in a crock pot and it will be delicious too!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eggplant, Lamb and Tomato Stacks

This recipe came at the suggestion of our friends Missy and Philip from Old Friends Farm. It is easy to make and you could tweak it many ways by substituting squash, potatoes or zucchini for the eggplant. It is surprising filling and one recipe served four adults.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion - chopped
4 cloves garlic slice thin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and dried thyme
1 pound ground lamb from Leyden Glen Farm
2 large eggplant (or zucchini)
1 small container ricotta cheese
6 medium tomatoes - cut into 1/2" slices
4 ounces mozzarella cheese (shredded, sliced or hunks)
handful basil - cut into thin strips
olive oil spray
salt and pepper

Cut eggplant into round slices about 1/2" thick. You will need 2 slices per stack. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray. Place eggplant on tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a 375 degree oven until soft - about 15 minutes. Remove from oven but keep the oven on. 

Meanwhile in a saute pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook garlic and onions until translucent. Add lamb, breaking it into small pieces and thyme and oregano. Cook until the meat is cooked through. Pour off the excess grease and hold.

Spray a casserole pan with some olive oil. Build each stack as follows:
1 piece eggplant
small amount of lamb mixture
small dollop of ricotta cheese
1 piece of tomato
bit of cut basil, salt, and pepper
and repeat above to make a nice high stack.

If you are worried about them falling over, steady with toothpicks but don't forget they are in there when you are eating!

Make as many as you have ingredients for. One eggplant yielded four stacks in our kitchen.
Place the leftover bits of cut tomatoes into the bottom of the casserole dish - they will turn into sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 until bubbly (about 25-30 minutes). Remove from oven, take off foil and top each stack with some mozzarella cheese. Broil until bubbly and brown flecked.