If I wanted an instant hit of the exotic these days, my go-to cuisine is Moroccan.
I don't know when I started to fantasize about Moroccan cuisine: bits and pieces overheard on the radio, snippets of articles and fragments of recipes here and there, I suppose, flit information in and out of my conscious and subconscious mind. Not living in proximity to a Moroccan restaurant, I was forced to start experimenting on my own.
These Moroccan lamb skewers are fairly simple to do, but they're so fabulously delicious that our guests did not know what hit them. We served these lamb skewers as one of our contribution to a potluck barbecue for Canada Day.
As with Moroccan dishes, the spicing is complex: there are layers of sweet and savoury and spicy with each and every bite.
For the lamb, it is a marinate-overnight kind of deal. I cut a leg of lamb into fairly large-sized cubes (1.5" x 1.5"), partly because I wanted them to look, well, sizeable, and partly because I really am so lazy that the larger cubes I cut, the less cubes I have to do. I had already spent a great deal of time cleaning up the leg, getting the gristle off.
Please note that I do not remember the exact quantities here, so these are only approximations.
For a 4 lb leg of lamb, into the marinade went
6 cloves of garlic,
a cup of extra-virgin olive oil,
zest and juice from a couple of lemons,
1/4 cup of honey,
2 tbsp of ground coriander,
1 tbsp of ground cumin,
1 tbsp of smoked hot paprika (or cayenne or chili flakes),
1 tbsp of minced ginger,
handful of mint, cilantro, and parsley leaves,
2 tbsp of black pepper, and
salt to taste.
I always taste my marinades before I put the meat in (of course, I can't taste it after I've dumped the meat in). If it doesn't taste right to me, then I add ingredients here and there until it tastes good.
Marinate the lamb in the fridge, overnight preferably.
Skewer the chunks alternating with red onions and dried figs.
I used dried figs because that is what I had in the house. Admittedly, I haven't worked with dried figs before and I didn't know that they will be so very hard (didn't soften when cooked) and so very sweet to eat on its own.
For next time, I will defnitely cut them up into smaller pieces and maybe just add them in the marinade instead of the honey.
If you don't have dried figs, dried apricots would work nicely instead of the figs.
Onto the grill they went.
Once off the skewers, there is also interesting textural contrast going on with the red onions and the lamb. If I had used a softer dried fruit instead of the figs, it would have been better. There will be soft, crunchy, chewy, meaty, fruity, savoury in every bite. Oh well. That is hindsight.
But I cannot really complain about these Moroccan lamb skewers even with the criticism of hindsight. They were fantabulous, if I might say so myself. (And I don't think that's my gigantormous ego talking.)
It is the kind of dish that makes people think I have more cooking skills than I actually do.
If serving one plate at a time, you can serve pieces of lamb, red onions, dried figs (or dried apricots) on a bed of couscous.
You were delicious!
Moroccan dishes at [eatingclub] vancouver:
Moroccan Lamb Skewers with Figs & Red Onions
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
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