i have never visited Morocco but it is certainly on my list of “a must see destination.” i did, however, get familiar with a spice mix from Morocco, called Ras el hanout and i love it!!
‘head of the shop’ in Arabic and quite rightly so. it is a blend of the best spices the seller has to offer, thus comes in varying forms. i first met up with this incredible flavourful spice, many many years ago, in the south of France, where i used it as a marinade for prawns. a dish i still cook to this day.
the warm, earthy flavours of ras el hanout are just perfect for a chilly night in, which is exactly what this dish brings to the table.
serve the lamb neck with buttery mashed potato or parsley rice and a good dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream. full cream, of course.
ingredients | serves 4
7tbs olive oil
1.2kg lamb neck, bone in
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 leeks, rinsed & sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
3tbs tomato paste
1 can chopped tomato
1c good red wine
400ml beef stock / broth
5tbs brown sugar
3tbs ras el hanout
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only
1tbs fresh thyme leaves
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
1tsp fine salt
handful fresh parsley, leaves only
fresh mint leaves
zest of 1 lemon
2tbs corn flour (optional)
2tbs water (optional)
preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
dredge the lamb neck in flour.
heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the meat on all sides. do this in two batches, using more olive oil as necessary. set aside.
in the same skillet, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the onion & garlic until glossy. add the tomato paste & ras el hanout and cook for 2 minutes.
deglaze the skillet with the red wine and cook for about 3 minutes, on medium heat. (just bubbling)
add the brown sugar, leeks, celery & carrots and stir to coat. cook for 2 minutes.
add the canned tomato, beef broth, rosemary, thyme, chilli, salt & pepper. stir. nestle the lamb neck into the mixture. bring the mixture to a rapid boil. remove from the heat, cover and place into the oven for 2 hours, until the lamb is ‘fall off the bone’ tender.
remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
for a thicker consistency, make a slurry of the corn flour and water and stir this through. place the skillet on the stove and bring to a gentle simmer for about 3 minutes or until thickened.
garnish with fresh parsley, mint and lemon zest and top with creme fraiche or sour cream.
from my kitchen to yours, with love x