Moroccan Feast: Slow-Cooked Lamb & Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Chicago’s bout of unseasonably warm fall weather is finally over, which means it’s time for some major winter hibernation in the Gupta household. And with that, comes some delicious, wintery slow-cooking of course. Last Sunday, hubby and I decided to try this Moroccan Lamb recipe from Epicurious and it was absolutely scrumptious. Flavorful, comforting and not as complicated as I would’ve figured–especially if you have a Crockpot on hand. We’ve always been a little hesitant to prepare lamb, but after this, can’t wait to try out some more lamb or goat recipes!

We paired the lamb with some couscous and this Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula Salad with Sumac Dressing from Finecooking.com, which is hands down THE most amazing salad I’ve ever tasted. The combination of roasted cauliflower, spices and feta is absolutely perfect. Definitely going to be a regular in our household.

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The lamb simmering away in a sauce of tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken broth, and dried apricots. Right before we transferred the mixture to a Crockpot for two hours of slow cooking. 

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Roasted cauliflower and arugula salad with sumac dressing from Finecooking.com 

Here’s our version of Epicurious’ Slow-Cooked Lamb recipe – more spice, and we used a Crockpot to get more tender lamb. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 6) 

3 tbsp cumin and coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala (optional, but adds more flavor & spice to the original recipe) 
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp cayenne pepper or red chili pepper (the original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon, but it wasn’t nearly enough spice for us so we added more)
2.5 pounds leg of lamb, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 cup dried apricots
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp grated lemon peel
Fresh cilantro and mint leaves for garnishing

Recipe 

Marinate the the lamb in cumin & coriander powder, salt & pepper, fennel seeds, and 1 tsp of cayenne pepper or red chili powder. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the lamb pieces in batches until they’re browned on all sides. Add more oil as necessary. Transfer the lamb to a new bowl as they’re done browning – each batch should take around 7-10 minutes.

Fry the onions and tomato paste in the skillet until the onions soften. Add the chicken broth, chickpeas, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, garam masala, ginger, and lemon pool and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. At this point, you can add in the lamb pieces, bring to a boil, cover and cook for an hour OR you can now turn to a Crockpot.

If you’re using a Crockpot: Transfer the sauce to your slow-cooker and add in the lamb pieces. Cook on high for 2-2.5 hours, until the lamb is tender. At this point, you can add more spices and salt depending on your taste. Once you’re satisfied with the tenderness of the meat, remove your Crockpot from heat (keep warm) and let the sauce thicken. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves and serve with couscous or rice. Voila – you’re done! Sit back and enjoy.

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