Please forgive my absence the last week or so.  My day job has had be putting in many many hours at the office and at home we’ve been eating dinners that I’ve made ahead of time and frozen.  (Thank goodness for that!).  Things should be settled down now, and I am so grateful.  Mixed into last week was the celebration of Eid al Adha or “festival of the sacrifice”.  Some of you might not be familiar with this holiday.

Eid al Adha comes on the 10th day of the 12th lunar month of the Islamic calendar and start after the completion of the Hajj (pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia).  The tradition comes from the story of Abraham’s sacrifice.  Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience.  Instead God replaced Ishmael with a ram after seeing how obedient Abraham was.  Every year Muslim families commemorate this by sacrificing a ram.  The meat is then distributed; 1/3 for the family, 1/3 for friends or other family members and 1/3 for charity.  There are many more smaller details about the activities of the day, but the major events are attending Eid prayers and making the sacrifice of the animal.

Early in the morning we wake up and get dressed in nice clothing.  My boys are wearing traditional Moroccan djalabbas.

Eid breakfast is usually something simple but not something that you would make everyday.  Some meals are very elaborate and some are simple.  Ours was simple due to time constraints.  I made batbout the night before with several different toppings.  My favorite dish for Eid is Harabil but it takes a little more time.
We went to the mosque for Eid Prayers and then to a friend’s farm for the sheep.

Normally we would have had a big dinner Tuesday night after the days activities we had to postpone that until Wednesday.  Tuesday night I made the spice mix and rubbed it into a cleaned lamb leg.  I let this marinade over night and then put in a low 250F oven for about 6 hours.

This dish is called Mechoui and is incredibly delicious.  A friend of ours that came over to celebrate with us was certain she didn’t like lamb.   She loved this!  I did alter the original recipe and used this spice mix;

2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp ginger powder
5 tbsp butter cut into pieces and kept cold until needed.

Cooking this on a low temperature for a long time ensures that the flavors get into all of the meat.  Using the butter helps keep it moist.

I served this with two salads;

A simple steamed carrot and vinegarette salad (literally steamed baby carrots with a dressing of 1 part olive oil, 1/2 part white vinegar and crushed garlic and a little black pepper)

A roasted pepper and preserved lemon salad.  To make this salad;
Roast a green pepper and red pepper until the skin is charred.  Remove skin and clean inside of the pepper.
Cut the pieces into small squares.  Take a quarter of a preserved lemon and clean the inside so only the rind remains.  Chop into similar size squares.  Top with 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp crushed garlic.  Serve room temperature.

Although not as ambitious or overly creative as some celebration meals it was satisfying and everyone enjoyed it.  This might become our new traditionally dinner due to its simplicity and great results!!

Are you thinking of spending Eid in Morocco?  Check out Hotels in Casablanca for great hotel deals.