It was my older son birthday yesterday and, as he is travelling through Morocco with his lovely partner Nadine on their bikes, we decided to cook a Moroccan feast here in Sydney, while his brother and sister in Paris went to a Berber restaurant there...
I love Morocco and its people and well as their delicious cuisine. I have had a lovely recipe book for many decades and searched it for inspiration.
On the photo, you can see a pea and chicken tajine, but ingredients in the fridge and pantry suggested a lamb tajine with oignons, chickpeas, olives and preserved lemon would do the trick.
I had sourced specially a bottle of Chateau Chantemerle 2009 to drink with it, as it is a bit more robust than our traditional Cotes-du-Rhone!
So, here is the recipe and photo of each stage, so you can get a better idea of the process and make your own!
First, you need a tajine dish, this triangular shaped earthware pot. You can put it in your oven - if big enough - but I prefer to use it directly on my gas stove - with the appropriate heat diffuser in between the flame and the dish. I have a non sticking modern version of it that i bought from The Essential Ingredient.
Put some generous amount of olive oil in the bottom, put the heat on then prepare half a dozen of small onions, add some julienne of carrots (2) and turnip (1), and lay the lambs chops in the pan - make sure to get some fat enough ones, so the fat contribute to the generosity of the sauce.
Add a table spoon of ground cardamon, cumin and some saffron - as much as you can afford... -
Brown the cutlets on both sides before you go onto the next step.
Once the cutlets have the right colour, add 250ml of good vegetable stock. Reduce the heat when the stock starts to simmer.
Then go and prepare a handful of black olives removing the stones, cut the preserved lemon into fine ribbons and rinse 500grs of organic chick peas - reserve.
When you are satisfied that the onions, carrots, turnips and spices are all nicely cooking in the stock, then throw the lemon and olives in, then the chick peas and then cover with another 250ml of stock.
If you re so inclined, you could add some dates to the sauce at that stage, but I didn't...
At this stage, it is time to cover the whole thing with the funny hat and relax for 30mns with a glass of your favourite red.
It should not take more than an hour to have the whole thing deliciously ready to be savoured and washed up with some more wine!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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