November 23, 2012

Nourishing Weekend Recipes: Slow-cooked Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Carrots

Morocco has long fascinated me. The landscape and culture is so starkly different to my own that I can't help but be intrigued. Many years ago, propelled by this intrigue, I embarked on a Moroccan adventure, seeking new experiences and knowledge about the people, their land and their traditions and culture. Oh us humans are curious beings indeed!

With a small pack on my back, two changes of clothes and one of my dear childhood friends we spent one month exploring Marrakesh, Rabat, Essaouira and the charming town of Chefchaouen. I can still see the warmly coloured spices stacked up high along roadsides and in the depths of the souks. Imprinted and part of me now are are also the earthy colours of brown, yellow and red which is throughout the country, the desert backdrop to the city of Marrakesh, old men sitting in the streets smoking, and the vision of a group of women appearing along a desert road, their heavily decorated skirts shimmering brightly in the midday sun.  

Of course this is only one set of memories, there are others.... the confusion and fear I felt in a foreign land with little knowledge of the cultural 'rules', the usual (for me) set of stomach troubles that aren't really worth mentioning, the intense heat and getting lost on my own and vowing to go outside without my friend again. 

Food is a big part of the culture, with mint tea being shared many times throughout the day with family and friends. As in many cultures, meals are an opportunity to share time together, enjoying family and friends. This week the fragrant scent of cumin, sweet paprika and fresh coriander filled our house as I embarked on a Moroccan culinary journey of slow- cooked spiced lamb and vegetables. Slow-cooking will make  lamb easier to digest and very tender. The natural sweetness of carrots complemented the flavours of the spiced lamb just perfectly. 

If you're a non meat eater (and you found your way here somehow!) why not use the spice paste for baked pumpkin, cauliflower or vegetables of your choice in season.

Slow-Cooked Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Carrots Recipe

Moroccan spiced lamb
4 good quality organic lamb shoulder chops
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
2-3 tbsps softened organic butter
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
Warm moroccan spiced carrots
2-3 large carrots, cut in half and then in long pieces on the diagonal (or other vegetables such as zucchini)
2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
handful of chopped coriander, or to your taste
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne, optional

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Place lamb in a baking dish with sides that will contain juices (at least 1/2 inch sides). Mix all ingredients. If the mix is too dry add more butter. Rub the mix on both sides of the lamb, you want the lamb to be well coated. If you have time you can marinade them in the fridge for an hour. Bake at 180C for 10 minutes,  turn your oven down to 150C, bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and enjoy the sweet fragrance of spices wafting throughout the house. 

Meanwhile prepare the moroccan dressing for the carrots. In a dish combine all the dressing ingredients. 15 minutes before your lamb is ready, steam carrots until just tender. Strain and mix with moroccon dressing. 

Voila! And for the finish,  here's a traditional mint tea recipe. I must of drunk at least 3 cups of mint tea daily in Morocco..there's always time to sit down for a chat with this sweet tea.

Serves 4.


  1. Hi Natalie, lovely recipe. although the weather is too warm for me at the moment to eat slow cooked lamb. Sorry it has taken me a while to respond to your question on my blog about not eating grains and if I've noticed a difference in how I feel. The answer is definitely yes. On the week I don't eat grains I do feel lighter, I've discovered that grains can make me feel sleepy. That said, I do crave carbs when I am not eating them. I look forward to the week when I am eating them and I still don't eat them at every meal but a couple of mornings a week I eat porridge or eat some sourdough rye toast. If you are curious I recommend giving it a go and seeing how you feel. Hope that helps! x

    1. Thanks Nikki, sounds like a good approach to starting off with a 'less on the grains' focus. I have found a do feel better overall when I'm not loading up with heaps of grains. And thanks for the reminder that it really is about listening to your body and seeing how it responds x


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