Lamb with Ras el Hanout & Honey
From The Ethnic Paris Cookbook
Hands-on Time: 20 minutes
Roasting Time: 3 hours or so
Final cooking time: 20 minutes or so
Serves 4-6 (Ruth’s note: this recipe is easily cut in half for 2, but you’d miss out on the wonderful flavor as leftovers intensify overnight)
3lb/1.5kg lamb shoulder, cut into large cubes (Ruth’s note: if the cubes are small, it will take less time)
3 tbsp ras el hanout
Salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups water
¼ cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
¾ cup raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
1 cup toasted whole almonds, chopped (Ruth’s note: an alternative is to toast sliced almonds)
Chopped fresh parsley (garnish)
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/170°C and place the lamb in a bowl and sprinkle with ras el hanout, salt & pepper. Toss to coat and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole (Ruth’s note: perfect if you have a tagine. I have to settle for my wonderful porcelain coated cast iron Dutch oven), and cook the onion over medium heat until soft (5 minutes or so) on top of the stove. Add the meat and brown lightly. Pour the water over and stir in the honey and cinnamon sticks. Cover tightly and transfer to the oven for 3-4 hours (less if the cubes are small). The lamb should be fork tender.
3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat to a bowl and keep warm. Skim off the excess fat from the broth. (Ruth’s note: I actually prepared the lamb up to this point the day before and refrigerated it. That made the fat congeal and easy to remove. Just remember to slowly reheat the lamb before doing the final step). Place the casserole, without the meat over low heat and add the raisins. Reduce the liquid until it has a syrupy like consistency (10-20 minutes). Taste for seasoning.
4. Return the lamb to the pot and add the toasted almonds. Stir to coat with the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with parsley
I served it over mashed sweet potatoes and it was wonderful.