Moroccan Cuisine

Moroccan Meatloaf

Lamb and beef meatloaf with Moroccan seasonings, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, cilantro, saffron, and mint.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

If you like lamb, you will love this Moroccan meatloaf! If you don’t like lamb, I’m willing to bet this meatloaf will convert you.

This meatloaf is superb — flavored with classic Moroccan spices with speckles of cilantro and mint. You can top it with a simple pomegranate molasses sauce, or skip the topping all together.

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe for Moroccan Meatloaf in the Niman Ranch Cookbook from Chef Monica Pope, of T’Afia in Houston, Texas.

I’ve made it a few times over the years and have recently changed up the spice mix and the topping a bit from the original recipe. Rather than using curry powder, which the original recipe called for (and which is unusual in Moroccan cuisine), I’ve opted for some coriander and a little more cinnamon.

I’ve simplified the sauce from the original, which included chipotle in adobo. I now just mix some ketchup and pomegranate molasses together in a 2:1 ratio and add a little chipotle chili powder. It’s delicious, and works perfectly with the meatloaf. Again, you can omit the sauce if you want.

A mini-chopper or food processor works well to finely chop the carrot, celery, and onion.

Ingredients

Meatloaf:

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (3-inch piece)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt (or a teaspoon of sea salt)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

Pomegranate molasses Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder (more to taste)

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the lamb and beef in a large bowl. Set aside.

2 Sauté onions, carrot, celery, garlic: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

Add the salt, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ground coriander, cayenne, pepper, and saffron. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to release the flavors. Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

3 Make meatloaf mixture: Stir the vegetables into the ground meat. Mix in the breadcrumbs, eggs, cilantro, and mint.

4 Place meatloaf mixture into loaf pan: Pack meatloaf mixture into a  5×9 or 4×8 loaf pan. If using a 4×8 pan, you’ll need to mound the mixture high in the pan. Set the loaf pan in a baking pan. Pour about 1/2 inch of hot water into the baking pan so it comes up the sides of the loaf pan a bit.

5 Bake: Bake the meatloaf for 1 1/2 hours, or until firm and cooked through. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Un-mold onto a plate and slice.

Serve with pomegranate molasses sauce, ketchup, or just the drippings from the meatloaf itself. Very good served with rice pilaf.

6 Make the (optional) pomegranate molasses sauce: Mix the ketchup, pomegranate molasses, and chipotle chili powder in a small bowl. Heat in a microwave or warm in a saucepan until just warm.

Posted by gen_gen - 2019 at 

Categories: Moroccan Cuisine   Tags: , , ,

Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives

A traditional Moroccan dish of chicken pieces braised with spices, garlic, onion, olives, and preserved lemon. Cooked in a tagine.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

A few years ago, I purchased a tagine, an earthenware cooking and serving pot common in North Africa, with which to experiment.

Have you ever tried cooking with a tagine? Or another type of clay pot?

There’s something special about cooking with clay. The heating is more even than what you would get in a regular skillet, and the liquid that gets released from the food while it cooks bastes the food keeping it moist.

A tagine used on a stove-top gives you that wonderful slow, even cooking that you would normally get from an oven-braise. The conical top returns moisture to the food below, and when the dish is done, you can serve it right in the pot.

My first foray into cooking with the tagine was with this Moroccan chicken dish which turned out beautifully—succulent, tender, and full of flavor.

I pulled the recipe together from various sources including the New York Times, The New Basics Cookbook, and recipes by Le Souk Ceramique, the maker of my tagine.

Preserved lemon is traditionally called for in this dish (very easy to make, by the way, all you need are lemons, salt, and time), and in my opinion, worth making just for this dish. But if you don’t have any, you can easily use thin slices of regular lemon.

Also, you don’t absolutely need to use a tagine to make this dish; just use a large, shallow, thick-bottomed, covered skillet.

This recipe shines with preserved lemons. If you don’t have access to any, you can use thin slices of regular or Meyer lemon, and you’ll likely need to add quite a bit of salt to the dish at the end.

If you use a tagine, you will likely need to soak it in water over-night before subjecting it to the heat of the stove. Doing so will help keep the tagine from cracking.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chicken, 3-4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces (or 3-4 lbs of just chicken thighs and legs, the dark meat is more flavorful)
  • Salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • The rind from 1 preserved lemon, rinsed in cold water, pulp discarded, rind cut into thin strips (if you don’t have preserved lemon, use whole thin slices of regular lemon)
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

1 Marinate chicken in spice rub: Combine all the spices—paprika, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper—in a large bowl.

Pat dry the chicken pieces and put in the bowl, coat well with the spice mixture. Let the chicken stand for one hour in the spices.

2 Brown chicken pieces in tagine or skillet: If you are using a clay tagine (if you have one, you must soak the bottom in water overnight before using), place it on a heat diffuser on the heating element to prevent the tagine from cracking, and place the olive oil in the tagine and heat it on medium heat.

If you do not have a tagine, you can use a thick-bottomed, large skillet with a cover. Heat the olive oil in the skillet on medium high heat.

In either case, sprinkle the chicken pieces very lightly with salt (go easy on the salt, the olives and preserved lemons are salty) and place skin side down in the tagine or skillet for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.

3 Add garlic and onions, cover and cook: Lower the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and onions over the chicken. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes.

4 Add lemon, olives, raisins, water, then cover and simmer: Turn chicken pieces over. Add the lemon slices, olives, raisins, and 1/2 cup water.

Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and quite tender.

5 Stir in parsley, cilantro: Mix in fresh parsley and cilantro right before serving. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve with couscous, rice, or rice pilaf.

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Categories: Moroccan Cuisine   Tags: , , ,

Moroccan Grated Carrot and Beet Salad

Moroccan shredded carrot and fresh beet salad with raisins, cumin, cinnamon, and paprika, and an honey lemon dressing.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Raw beets, really?

Yep. To this daughter of a midwesterner, beets only come two ways, roasted or boiled and then “pickled” in a vinaigrette.

The first time I had raw beets, in a matchstick carrot and beet salad at a local Moroccan restaurant, it was a revelation. They’re just like carrots! But ruby red.

Here’s my take on the Moroccan classic, a raw shredded carrot and beet salad seasoned with cinnamon, paprika, and cumin, honey, lemon, and mint. Lovely and light as a side to chicken, turkey, or lamb.

We always have fresh mint growing in yard somewhere, which is why I like tossing it into salads. If you don’t have easy access to fresh mint for this recipe, just skip it.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of grated carrots (from about 3 carrots)
  • 1 cup of grated fresh beets (from about 1 medium sized peeled beet)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (sweet, not hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Small pinch of salt
  • Small pinch of cayenne
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 Tbsp sliced fresh mint leaves

Method

1 Rinse the grated beets, combine with carrots and raisins: Place the grated carrots in a medium sized serving bowl.

Place the grated beets into a sieve and briefly rinse with cold water. This will rinse away a little of the excess beet juice that may otherwise color the whole salad beet red.  Pat dry with a paper towel.

Then add to the bowl with the carrots.  Add the raisins.  Stir to gently combine.

2 Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne. Then add the lemon juice and honey and whisk until smooth.

3 Dress the carrots and beets, let sit for an hour: Drizzle over the the carrots and beets, then gently fold until the carrots and beets are lightly coated.  Let sit for an hour before serving, either chilled or at room temperature, for the dressing to seep into the carrots and beets.

4 Stir in sliced mint before serving: Right before serving, stir in a couple tablespoons of sliced fresh mint leaves. Garnish with fresh mint.

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Categories: Moroccan Cuisine   Tags: , , ,

Grilled Moroccan Chicken

Skinless boneless chicken breasts marinated in yogurt with garlic, cumin, and paprika, then grilled.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Marinating time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4

I’ve recently been cooking my way through some of the older recipes on Simply Recipes and came across this gem—Moroccan spiced grilled chicken breasts. It’s a winner!

Boneless skinless chicken breasts are marinated in yogurt mixed with a Moroccan spice mix of cumin, paprika, and cinnamon, and then simply grilled.

The yogurt helps tenderize the breasts and the marinade brings life to otherwise boring boneless skinless chicken.

What I love about this recipe is that with just the barest of preparation, you can have a delicious meal within minutes. The yogurt-based marinade is only mildly acidic, so you can leave the chicken in the marinade all day, while it gently tenderizes the meat while infusing it with the spices.

Just put the chicken in the marinade before leaving for work in the morning, come home, heat the grill, chicken is done in less than 10 minutes. Simple. Easy!

The recipe is one we adapted from a recipe in the Sacramento Bee years ago. To the original recipe we’ve added lemon juice to the yogurt and cinnamon to the spice blend.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Method

1 Marinate the chicken: Mix the marinade ingredients (yogurt, lemon juice, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper) together in a medium sized bowl.

Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and thoroughly coat with the marinade.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator from 2 hours to overnight.

2 Grill the chicken: Heat your grill on high heat if you are using a gas grill, or prepare coals for direct heat if you are using charcoal. Allow for one side of the grill to be the “cool” side. If you do not have a grill you can use a cast-iron grill pan on your stove.

Grill the chicken breasts over direct high heat a couple of minutes on one side. Then turn them over and move them to the cool side of the grill. Cover and cook for a few minutes more, until the chicken is cooked through.

(The easiest way to test for doneness is with your fingertips. See The Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat. Or use a meat thermometer, remove the meat from the grill when the internal temperature of the chicken breast reaches 165°F.)

Take care not to overcook, as chicken breasts can easily dry out.

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Categories: Moroccan Cuisine   Tags: , , ,