Morroccan Lamb Stew

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On Saturday night we had a gathering. It was originally meant to be a few weeks earlier to celebrate the death of a certain ex Prime Minister of this fair land but got delayed. Our gatherings are not the formal kind, they usually consist of people mulling round a kitchen drinking lots with a pan of something on offer to eat.  This was no exception and I didn’t feel like doing the traditional curry and rice thing that usually happens so I had a think.
I was wandering round the garden on a fine Saturday morning and looked at my herb patch and thought.     ” What the hell do you do with mint apart from stick it with peas?”  The answer came quickly and was handy too as I had all the ingredients to do this Morroccan style dish anyway. I had Lamb, I had Lemons, I had dried fruit although not apricots. Oh yes, I still had some dried prunes left, those ones Carol bought from a garage over a year ago that were past their sell by date.
The sell by date. What a joke. At Tesco, we have a bin full of out of date bedding plants. How does a plant go out of date? I have a 15ft Japanese Maple tree vigourously growing that I had rescued from the bin of stupidity that was “out of date”.

So here is a list of things that was thrown into a large pan and cooked for a very long time
1 Kilo of cubed lamb I used a leg I had boned out and had in the freezer
1 chopped onion
5 large cloves of garlic
Dried fruit, I used prunes and raisins around 500g
Tin of cherry tomatoes
Tin of chick peas
Tin of Haricot beans
1 Lemon, halved
Cup of fresh orange juice
Chilli flakes
2 Tbs Smoked Paprika
500ml Chicken Stock
Tomato puree, a good squeeze
Mint. Loads I went back for two more handfuls.
Tbs Cumin
Tbs Coriander
Salt
Pepper
2 large chopped carrots

Now, you can fanny around with these to your own liking and even brown the lamb first and gently fry the onions and garlic but if you are going to stew something for 6 hours like I did then I can’t see any point in those processes, they really do not add any flavour.

And that is exactly what I did, I stewed it all for around 6 hours on a very very low heat. You could use the oven but I guestimated that the gas hob would be a cheaper option. Of course it would have been an ideal vehicle for me to use the Tagine my brother bought me last year but I was feeding 7 hungry people.

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All served with a cous cous that was cooked with more chicken stock, an Oxo chicken stock.

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It even made my plates look Morroccan.  I would like to say that it was a big hit, Carol certainly liked it and I did get some drunken gratitude for it. There is only one problem and that is the price of a leg of lamb these days. Someone out there is taking the Mick. Lamb is and should be a great free range animal that eats poor grade grass either on mountains or marshes. It’s welfare is minimal so why does it cost so much these days? I suspect that the lack of New Zealand lamb has allowed prices to rise. I realise a farmer has to make a living but if we paid a decent price for a pint of milk then maybe other produce would be cheaper.

This did go down nicely with several beers, ciders, wine and e-cigs.

And I can vouch that the lamb was not halal. Mugsie.

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