Grilled Ras el Hanout Lamb Loin Chop, Toasted Almonds and a Moroccan bean stew

Grilled lamb chop marinated in Ras el Hanout spice, served on a Moroccan bean stew, garnished with toasted sliced almonds and a little coriander leaf.

If I ever open a restaurant, this would be on the menu for certain. I have always been a fan of Moroccan cuisine and visited the coastal resort of Agadir a few years ago, where my love of the food only grew. Grilled meats and stews are the backbone of Moroccan cuisine and the inspiration behind this recipe was the local food I sampled in Agadir.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 15 minutes (plus 2-3 hrs marinating time)

cooking time 15mins for lamb, approx. 95 minutes for bean stew

 

Ingredients and Method

For Lamb

2 Lamb loin chops – 150-200g each

2-3 tbsp. Ras el Hanout spice mixture

1 tbsp. olive oil – plus a little to brush on grill pan

Method: Place the lamb chops in a food bag, then add the olive oil and Ras el Hanout. Tie the bag, shake well then massage the spices into the lamb. Place in a fridge for 2-3 hours and take out 30 minutes before grilling to bring to room temperature.

To cook the Lamb, pre heat the grill pan on a high setting, once hot brush the grill with a little olive oil (so spices and lamb don’t stick to it and burn). Once olive oil begins to smoke add the lamb to the grill pan, sear the chops on all sides then reduce heat to medium. Cook the lamb for 12 minutes (for rare) to 14 minutes (medium) , turning every few minutes. It is important to grill the lamb on all sides – including the bone and fat side, this adds flavour and helps renders the fat to make the meat even more succulent. You will likely need to use kitchen tongs to hold the meat when grilling on bone and fat side. Once grilled rest the lamb on a plate for a few minutes before serving.

For the bean stew

235g cannoli beans – drain and rinse well under running water

3 small red onions

4 cloves garlic – remove skin

1 red chilli – remove stalk and seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp medium hot chill powder

1.5 tsps. sweet smoked paprika

6 tbsp. sliced almonds – half for paste half for toasting

2 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaf

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp dried parsley leaf

1 tsp dried coriander leaf

500ml stock

350ml water

300g passata

1 dessert spoon brown sugar

Black peppercorns – in mill for grinding

1 tsp vinegar

Greek Yogurt – optional condiment 

Method: start by making a paste to flavour the bean stew. Add the red onions, garlic, red chilli, chilli powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika and 3 tbsp. sliced almonds into a mini chopper/food processor and blitz into a smooth red paste. Heat 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil in a flat deep non stick frying pan then add the paste. Cook the paste for 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently, loosen with a few tsp of water if paste sticks to pan – make sure it does not burn.

Once the paste is cooked add the beans and stir through the paste until combined. Next add the rest of the ingredients – the stock, water, dried parsley, dried coriander, passata, brown sugar, vinegar and a generous amount of ground black pepper. Stir well until combined and heat through until it begins to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Leave pan uncovered and let the stew slowly reduce for around 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the stew is reducing too slowly increase the heat slightly, if sauce has reduced too much simply add a little water to loosen it. The stew is ready when beans are softened and the sauce has reduced to a rich thick consistency.

To make the garnish simply toast the rest of the sliced almonds in a dry pan over a medium heat, turning frequently until the almonds toast and start to take on a golden brown colour. remove them from the heat and tip the almonds on to a plate. To serve spoon the bean stew on to the plate, place the grilled lamb in centre then sprinkle with toasted almonds and coriander leaf. Some Greek yogurt works very well as a condiment.

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Korean beef skewers

A really quick and easy recipe for knock out Korean beef skewers.

 

The beef is knocked flat with a rolling-pin, then thinly sliced. This is added to a marinade made from ginger, garlic, dark soy, vinegar, shaoxing, sesame, honey and gochujan chilli paste.  Left a few hours in a fridge then the beef is skewered, before being cooked quickly over a hot skillet.

In this recipe I used fajita steak, however any steak cut such as sirloin or rump would work just as well. I served this as part of a main meal along with some coconut rice and a cucumber salad (recipe below), however it also works brilliantly as a starter.

You can make a tasty dipping sauce by pouring the marinade into a saucepan and cooking it through the boil.

 

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Serves two as a starter or part of a main meal

Preparation time 20 minutes (plus 3 hrs marinading time)

Cooking time approx 5 minutes

Beef Skewers

2 steaks (fajita, frying, sirloin or rump) – flatten with rolling-pin/mallet, thinly sliced

Bulb of garlic – crush and finely chop

Thumb of ginger – cut into thin match sticks

2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon vinegar

1 desert spoon sesame oil

Dash shaoxing wine

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 dessert spoon honey

2 dessert spoons gochujan paste

Vegetable oil  (to lightly bush grill)

You need a skillet grill pan and bamboo skewers for this recipe.

Mix marinade in a bowl then add the thinly sliced steak. Stir then cover in a fridge for at least three hours or overnight. Remove 30 minutes before cooking.

Get cooking!

  1. Start by skewering the beef. Try to get several skewer folds as you do this instead of simply one in one out.
  2. Heat the skillet pan over a high heat until smoking hot, then lightly brush with oil.
  3. Add the skewers across the grill from right to left, spacing out slightly so that all the skewers have room on the grill and are not lifted off by its neighbour – this helps to evenly cook them.
  4. On a hot grill the skewers will cook very quickly and need at most 90 seconds on each side, even less for very thinly sliced beef. Make sure you turn them in the same order for even cooking.
  5. Once cooked on both sides remove skewers in same order placed on grill and transfer to a plate to rest for 2 minutes before serving.
  6. If you wish transfer the remaining marinade into a saucepan and heat through until it bubbles away to kill any bacteria. This makes an excellent dipping sauce along.

Cucumber salad

15cm cucumber – deseed, peel and cut into crescents

2 long red chillies – thinly sliced

3 spring onions – thinly sliced

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaf

2 tbsp chopped peanuts

Mix ingredients in a bowl, keep the coriander and peanuts separate to add as a last-minute garnish.

For the salad dressing:

1 dessert spoon gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon honey

3 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Mix the dressing well in a separate bowl, drizzle over salad before serving.