Moroccan cuisine blends African, Arabian, and European influences to make some of the most exotic food in the world. Moroccan food exudes exotic aromas and full piquant flavors. Herbs and spices are an essential part of Moroccan cooking and most dishes feature cumin, saffron, ginger, turmeric, cloves and cinnamon to bring out the full flavour of meat, vegetables and pastries. The ubiquitous dish, steamed couscous, is often served with tajine, a type of stew made with lamb, chicken or fish that’s cooked in an earthenware dish. Another favourite is skewered lamb which is cooked with onions, parsley, peppers and coated in a variety of aromatic spices.
3/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
4 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 pounds well-trimmed boneless leg of lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
16 12-inch-long metal skewers (I used wooden skewers soaked in water)
32 whole dried apricots soaked in boiling water 5 minutes, drained
4 red onions, each cut into 8 chunks
Whisk first 9 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Transfer 1/2 cup marinade to small bowl; cover, chill, and reserve as basting sauce. Add lamb to remaining marinade in medium bowl; toss to coat. Marinate 2 hours at room temperature or cover and refrigerate overnight.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Remove lamb from marinade. Thread lamb cubes onto 8 skewers, dividing equally. Thread apricots and onion chunks alternately on remaining 8 skewers. Brush all skewers with some of reserved 1/2 cup marinade. Sprinkle onion-apricot skewers with salt and pepper. Grill onion-apricot skewers until onions soften and begin to brown, occasionally turning and basting with marinade and moving skewers to cooler part of barbecue if necessary to keep apricots from burning, about 10 minutes. Grill lamb to desired doneness, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes for medium-rare.
Honey Mustard Potatoes:
1 lb. new potatoes, washed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey (can add a bit more)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly chopped up rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-cook the potatoes until tender and cool 5-10 minutes. Combine all ingredients and add potatoes to dressing. If potatoes are big, cut in half. Let stand at room temperature before roasting on barbecue.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: The lamb can be cooked either outdoors, on the barbecue grill, or indoors under the broiler (I prefer the outdoor cooking). If the apricots are plump, I don’t bother soaking them in water. Enjoy!