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Lamb and Vegetable Couscous

Lamb and Vegetable Couscous

Whenever I tell someone MarocBaba is Moroccan, the conversation almost always ends up on couscous.  Even for people who have little knowledge about the country itself they know couscous.  It’s one of my favorite dishes too but not so for MarocBaba.  He never really liked it growing up and since he has been diagnosed with celiac disease he couldn’t eat it.  I’ve seen a lot of swaps for the traditional grains.  Large balls, sometimes called Israeli couscous, rice, corn grits and now there’s one more option – rice couscous! I thought it was too good to be true but Lundberg Farms has a rice couscous! (They really have a lot of different flavors but I’m partial to the straight no-flavor kind).  Most couscous sold in US supermarkets is marketed as instant.  Meaning boiling it in some water and let it steam for 5-10 minutes and voila you have couscous.  This is not the Moroccan way.  If you’re in a bind, that way works but if you really want fluffy delicious couscous grains the traditional way is the only way.

I wasn’t sure how this rice couscous was going to hold up to traditional steaming methods but I was very happy with the results!  The best part – MarocBaba loved it AND he thought it was real couscous.  He was so sure it was real couscous I had to show him the box to prove it was made from rice.  There were very few leftovers from this meal.

Lamb and Vegetable Rice Couscous


  • 1 box Lundberg Farms Rice Couscous
  • salt water (plenty)
  • 1/2 - 1 lb of lamb - any cut works
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 serano pepper
  • 1 potato
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 squash (your choice butternut or acorn work best)
  • 1 medium onion diced finely
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger (fresh if you have it)
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, wrapped in twine
  • water or vegetable broth


  • I use a couscousierre to make this dish. The directions will be written for this cooking method.
  • Peel and quarter all of your vegetables. You can leave the skin on the zucchini and squash if you like.
  • In the bottom of the couscousierre, add the lamb, potato, sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, tomato, serano pepper, squash and onion.
  • Add enough liquid (water or broth) to cover the vegetables.
  • Mix in all of the spices, and drop in the parsley bouquet.
  • Turn the stove on medium high heat until it boils, and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Before steaming the couscous for the first time, spread the grains out in a large bowl and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salt water. Separate the grains with your fingers as much as possible. You may need to add more water, they really should be quite damp but not dripping liquid.
  • Transfer the couscous to the top of the couscousierre and turn the stove temperature to high. Cover the top of the pot with a lid and leave alone for about 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, check the grains. If they feel dry then remove and pour back into the bowl you originally used. Add more of the salt water and continue the process the same way you did the first time, taking care to separate the grains as much as possible.
  • Just as with traditional couscous you will steam and wet the grains 3 times.
  • Before the third steaming, add the zucchini and chickpeas to the bottom. At this time check the liquid levels and add more if it is getting low.
  • When the final steaming is complete, remove the top of the couscousierre and dump the grains onto a large serving plate. Separate the grains as much as possible.
  • Use a large slotted spoon to remove the meat and vegetables and arrange on top of the couscous.
  • Pour 1/2 of the remaining liquid over the top of the dish.
  • Place the remaining liquid into smaller bowls so that those eating can add extra liquid to their liking.
  • Serve with large spoons for eating!

I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as we do!

But wait there’s more!

Lundberg Farms products are some of my favorite gluten-free items.  Now they want to provide one reader with a gift basket of their products to try! This giveaway is open to US residents and closes on February 1st.  Directions are in the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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An Edible Mosaic: Meat and Vegetable Casserole with Pomegranate

I am no stranger to Middle Eastern food though many Moroccan “foodies” would argue that Moroccan food isn’t Middle Eastern food.  I would tend to agree with that.  This recipe is a great example of just how true that is.  I am participating with several other food bloggers taking part in a virtual potluck using the recipes from Faith Gorsky’s, An Edible Mosaic.  Faith’s story is a lot like my own.  Her contact with Middle Eastern food didn’t really exist until she met her husband.  It was through his family she learned how to make the cuisine.  I am hoping to interview Faith in the future to talk a bit more about this phenomenon!  But, back to the recipe today.

This is a really hearty Meat and Vegetable Casserole that includes pomegranate syrup as a secret ingredient.  The taste reminds me a lot of a beef bourignon with the addition of the pomegranate taking the place of wine. I altered the cooking directions a bit, opting to cook and finish this on the stovetop instead of in the oven as was detailed in the directions. We served it over rice and it was very good.  MarocBaba tossed some hot pepper flakes on top too and was happy.  I think this is a great recipe by itself and also is easily altered to make new dishes!  Here’s what Faith has to say about it.

This casserole is a wonderful example of classic Syrian cuisine: it celebrates the flavors of the freshest, best-quality ingredients you can find. The simple ingredients found in Syrian dishes are usually prepared very simply, but are paired so perfectly that the dish comes together to be so much greater than the sum of its parts. Looking at the humble ingredient list for this dish, you’ll notice that it’s mostly a plethora of vegetables, but if you make sure to use the freshest veggies you can find you’ll be surprised at how delicious the end result is.

And there is a secret ingredient that adds a balanced sweet/tart flavor and deep complexity to the dish: pomegranate molasses! This is just pomegranate juice that has been reduced to a thick, sweet, and tangy syrup, but its flavor is irreplaceably unique. It’s the ingredient that makes this casserole unforgettable, and will have people guessing for hours what your secret was.

 If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, it can be made at home very easily by simmering down pomegranate juice (about 4 cups/1 liter of juice will yield about 1/2 cup of molasses); store the molasses in a lidded glass jar in the fridge and it should keep for months.

If you’re interested in checking out Faith’s book you can pick it up online.  I think An Edible Mosaic is a great cookbook for someone with limited exposure to Middle Eastern cooking or someone who has many years of experience!  To see what some of the other bloggers are making be sure to visit Kitchen Play!

An Edible Mosaic: Meat and Vegetable Casserole with Pomegranate

Rating: 41

20 minutes

1 hour, 20 minutes

1 hour, 40 minutes

6 Servings


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions diced
  • 1 lb lean ground lamb or beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/3 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb tomatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 lb potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb squash, zucchini or eggplant cubed (peel eggplant if using)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley leaves minced
  • Flatbread or Araic Style Rice for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion and saute stirring occasionally. Add the meat, 1 tsp salt, and the pepper; turn the heat up to high and cook until the meat is fully browned and the onion is tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Add the garlic and tomato and cook 5 minutes more.
  • Transfer the meat mixture to a medium sized casserole dish along with the potato and squash, zucchini or eggplant, stir to combine.
  • Whisk together the tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, water, and remaining salt in a small bowl; drizzle on top of the casserole.
  • Cover the casserole dish and bake until the veggies are tender, about 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the fresh parsley leaves and serve with Arabic flatbread or Rice. f


This recipe was reprinted from An Edible Mosaic by Faith Gorsky with the permission of the publisher.


Want to see what the other bloggers are cooking up?

Spinach Turnovers from Lana of Bibberche

Falafel from Heather of Kitchen Concoctions

Middle Eastern Scrambled Eggs with Meat and Onion from Laura of The Spiced Life

Coconut Semolina Cake from Stephanie of 52 Kitchen Adventures

Date-Filled Cookies from Jennifer of Savory Simple

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Can you believe Eid as at the end of this week? I’ve been so busy that it snuck up and now I’m scrambling to get my menu in place and invitations out. I keep asking myself when I’m going to find time to actually cook! Usually I make mechoui and brochettes along with several different salads and desserts, but this year I am wanting to do something a little lighter. My dad gave us a sheep for my upcoming birthday and had it processed making life a whole lot easier for me. Included in my box was several pounds of ground lamb.  I made a mental note to use some of this soon.  Then as I was wandering one of our Asian markets an idea came to me. We have a lot of Laotian refugees in our community and the market reflects this population. I remembered a dish called larb that I had eaten at a potluck once. Larb + Lamb = Really unique Eid meal idea!

Larb is not made with lamb traditionally, but it is made with just about every other meat. It’s considered the national dish of Laos and includes lime, fish sauce, chili’s and other vegetables. The dish is also found in Northern Thailand but the flavoring is very different. What I love most about this meal idea for Eid is that it’s an easy buffet style idea.  You can mix and match the vegetables and other condiments to top the meat with. I served this in lettuce wraps to make it light but it can also be served on top of rice.

Laotian-Style Lamb Larb


    For the Meat Filling
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 package Saffron Road Lemongrass Basil Simmer Sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • palmful of cilantro chopped
  • For the Sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 Tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1-2 squirts of Siracha (adjust based on your taste)
  • For the Toppings
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Crushed Peanuts (or any nut)
  • Scallions
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Cilantro


    To Cook the Meat
  • In a large skillet add the ground lamb (if you can't find ground lamb or don't want to buy it, you can add boneless lamb to a food processor and blend until broken up) and begin to cook.
  • Once browned - but not cooked all the way through - add crushed garlic and parsley and cook through.
  • Drain excess fat from the pan.
  • Add one package of Saffron Road Lemongrass Basil Simmer Sauce and cook until the liquid has been mostly absorbed.
  • To Make The Sauce
  • Juice the lime and mix in the sweet chili sauce and siracha
  • To Assemble
  • Chop and prepare all of the toppings.
  • Arrange in individual bowls so that guests can add what they like
  • Separate leaves of lettuce for the wraps

Make sure to arrange all of the ingredients so that guests can serve themselves.  Mix and match bowl sizes and condiments so that there’s something for everyone.


What are you making this Eid?

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Roasted Moroccan Rack of Lamb {#SundaySupper}

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Chops


It”s not very often I make lamb out of the blue but a few weeks ago it seemed the perfect time to pull a rack of lamb chops from the freezer and slow roast them. I had received a package from Superior Farms a little while ago but hadn’t had a chance to cook with it yet.  We slaughter a sheep yearly for Eid however I’m the one that ends up butchering it (not pretty). It was a big change of pace to open up a package that is cleaned and ready to go!  Many people are very intimidated by lamb, thinking it’s hard to cook – it’s not hard to cook this way.

This week is my first week participating in #SundaySupper an online cooking event focused on bringing families back around the table. I can’t think of a better dish than this to gather your family around. This week’s theme is Dishes in 5 Ingredients of Less (with salt, pepper, and water being freebie ingredients), believe it or not this can be done with those parameters.

Moroccan Spiced Roast Lamb


  • 1/2 rack of lamb ribs
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 mashed garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • fingerling potatoes or regular potatoes halved and quartered


  • **If possible purchase or ask your butcher to "French" your lamb ribs - this will remove the fat and stringy parts of the upper tips of the lamb.
  • In a bowl mix the ginger, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin in a bowl. You can add more or less depending on the size of your lamb.
  • To prepare your lamb, remove the back fat from roast. You don't want to remove all of the fat but there may appear to be a "sheet" of fat on one side, this can be removed. Use a fork to poke the meat so that the marinade can get into the meat.
  • Rub the entire roast with the marinade until it is coated. Place into a roasting pan double the size of the lamb. If possible allow to marinade for at least 1 hour but up to overnight.
  • When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300F. Slide the lamb in and allow to roast for 2 hours. After this time check the lamb, there should be a good deal of fat liquified at the bottom. Cut, clean and prepare your potatoes and place all around the lamb and mix with the juices that have released.
  • Continue cooking for 30-45 minutes and test the potatoes, continuing to cook if they are not cooked through. The internal temperature of the lamb should be 160F for medium ad 165F for well done. This roast will not be pink but completely cooked through. Don't worry about it being tough - it will fall apart when you're eating it.
  • To serve, cut 1-2 ribs off and plate with potatoes and a drizzle of pan juices if desired.


The lamb completely cooked and delicious!

 I hope you’ll check out some of these other fabulous bloggers as we present our #SundaySupper menu for this week.

Make sure to join us tonight at 7PM EST on Twitter for the weekly #SundaySupper chat! (search the hashtag for conversation)

Special Thanks to this week’s host Mama’s Blissful Bites

Breakfast, Starters, Butters and Jams:

Main Dishes:



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Crockpot Paleo Lamb Stew with Cauliflower Rice

Crockpot Paleo Lamb Stew with Caulflower Rice

Recently my sister moved to the town we live in.  I am so excited that my niece and nephews are close by! When I first visited Morocco and met MarocBaba my sister was with and it’s safe to say she played some part in creating the events that led to us meeting. She also grew to really like Moroccan food and her continued questioning me for my Moroccan recipes is what made me create a blog almost 5 years ago! With three kids under 6 and attending school full time she doesn’t have enough time to write her own blog, but lucky for us she’s going to share her recipes here. She makes some really good desserts and delicious paleo meals.  This meal is easy to prepare, paleo and gluten-free! We hope you enjoy it.

Crockpot Paleo Lamb Tajine with Cauliflower Rice

adapted from


  •  1# Lean lamb (cut into 1″ chunks) – If you don’t like lamb you can use beef or chicken
  • 2 tsp olive, coconut, or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 medium red onion – sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 cups chopped tomato (I used one can of no salt added tomatoes)
  • 1 cup dried apricots (no sugar added)

1. Place lamb cubes in bowl, adding spices and oil. Mix to coat in spices.
2. Heat a nonstick skillet over high until hot and add the spiced lamb. Reduce heat to medium
and stir until the pieces are browned.
3. Add all of the ingredients to your crock pot.
4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
5. Serve on a bed of cauliflower rice (or real rice if you aren’t paleo)

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I have a confession.  I haven’t been cooking much lately.  It’s true.  When I do cook I haven’t been all that inventive, relying on tried  and true recipes.  I’ve had a lot going on and my younger sister has moved home to have her second baby.  So, I’ve been busy being the baby whisperer..(he hasn’t listened yet and is stubbornly staying put!)  MarocBaba is starting to get antsy so don’t worry I’ll be back to normal soon.
In the meantime I’ve got some things up my sleeves.  Next week I’m starting a really fun new series of posts with my favorite female food bloggers!  These ladies have totally inspired me and I love reading their blogs and seeing what new things they are coming up with.  I really think you’re going to love learning more about them too.
My recipe today is for Mechoui.  I’ve posted portions of this recipe before but not with good pictures.  I want to share this again because lamb is often overlooked on the American table.  I can say before visiting Morocco I had never eaten lamb and had no desire to try.   The first few times I tried dishes with it I found the meat very fatty and I couldn’t handle the taste of fat in my mouth.  This recipe however melts off all of the fat.  I love it.  Even friends and family who swore they didn’t like lamb like this recipe!  If you’re looking for a different kind of holiday main dish this is it.  The best part is you can put it in the oven and pretty much forget about it!


Ribs cleaned and rubbed with spice mix

Mechoui – Moroccan Style BBQ


  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 5 tbsp butter cut into pieces and kept cold until needed.
  • 2-3 racks of lamb ribs


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.Trim of excess fat from lamb cut and discard. Sprinkly kosher salt over meat. Place in roasting pan. Combine remaining ingredients to make a rub. Massage the ribs with the spice mix. Cut half of the butter into chunks and rub on after the spices.
  • Cover with aluminum foil, like a tent. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, basting ever 30-45 minutes.Increase temperature to 375 degrees, remove foil, baste and allow leg of lamb to cook for 3 hours, or until skin is golden brown. Continue to baste and add more butter each hour as needed. Remove from oven and serve!



Partially cooked Mechoui

Looking for more?  Today ALL of the recipes from The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap will be live today (cookie overload!)  Here’s the links for Part One and Part Two of 620 recipes from the swap! Also make sure to check out this post on All Women Stalk…perhaps you will notice yours truly.  I am humbled to be included on this list with such greats as Dinners and Dreams and Moroccan Food!!

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I have been meaning to get this recipe up for sometime but kept having other things to put up instead!  This is generally made during Eid al Adha in Morocco.  While I have never eaten it (I don’t do organs) MarocBaba and even M do like it.  The first meal of Eid al Adha in Morocco always includes all of the items that don’t freeze well such as the liver, heart, and kidneys.  The rest of the sheep is hung up so that the meat partially dries.  The dish that everyone waits and looks forward to is boulfaf.  L’faf in Moroccan means “to roll with something inside,” which is exactly what boulfaf is.  The recipe is very simple but Eid just wouldn’t be the same without it.

Boulfaf – Grilled Lamb Liver


  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika (use cayenne pepper if you like heat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 lamb liver
  • Strips of caul fat


  • Place the liver in a grill basket and place it on a hot grill. Leave the liver for 10 to 15 – it should be cooked through. In some parts of Morocco they boil the liver until cooked. The reason for this is to remove the metallic taste from the organ.
  • The caul fat is the lacy fat that surrounds some of the interior organs. This is used to wrap the cooked liver. To prepare the caul fat it is removed from the sheep. A clean white sheet is hung on a clothes line and the the fat is draped and clipped – just like hanging up clothes. It is then left for several hours to stiffen. Once removed the strips are rolled like a cigar and ½ pieces are cut.
  • Mix all of the spices together. Cut the liver into bite-size cubes and sprinkle with the spice mixture, then wrap each with a piece of the fat. Slide onto a metal skewer.
  • When all of the liver has been used, place the skewers back on the grill. DO NOT do this inside of the house (such as in a grill pan). The melting fat will cause smoke – sometimes a lot of smoke. This should only take a few minutes to melt some of the fat.
  • Serve hot with the same spice mixture as a condiment. Guests can add more depending on their preference. Moroccans eat boulfaf with pieces of Moroccan bread.
  • In Morocco every family shares skewers of their boulfaf with neighbors to share part of their sheep. In the Moroccan spirit of hospitality for every skewer you give, chances are good you’ll get two in return!


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What’s sweeter than fresh sweet peas (in super sweet little hands nonetheless)?  On a recent trip to the farmer’s market I was very happy to see tables bulging with these beautiful peas.  As the first of the season some pods were full of plump peas while others were minimal.  While at the market I also picked up some lamb chops from a local organic farm, stalks of green garlic and bunches of mint and flat-leaf parsley.  I know exactly what I was going to make.

I’ve been wanting to make some tajines in my tajine pot instead of the pressure cooker.  While I love the speed a pressure cooker affords, sometimes I find dishes cooked that way lack the character and flavors that cooking in a clay tajine provides.  My smaller vessel has a crack in it from heating it up too fast when I was nieve in the ways of clay.  Instead of tossing it I use it for serving and in this instance a little improvisation.  I always use a heat diffuser now, a circular piece of metal that goes between the burner and the tajine.  I also had the idea to use a piece of aluminum as a barrier to the crack in the bottom of the tajine.  I put it around the outside of the bottom piece.  (It worked fantastically!!!  No leaks!)  I then filled it like this.

**Tajine for 3-4 people, cooked in a small tajine.  This can be easily doubled to feed more people


  • 3-4 lamb chops with extra fat trimmed
  • 4 red potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 c shelled fresh green peas
  • 6-8 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2-3 mint leaves
  • 1/2 preserved lemon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp water


In the bottom of a tajine add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and the chopped onions to form your base. Place the lamb shanks in the middle of the tajine, as flat as possible.  Arrange potatoes around the lamb chops.

Spread the peas around the tajine.  Some in the middle, around the edges – anywhere they will fit!  Cut the preserved lemon into several pieces and slip in and around the tajine, making sure some are sitting on the lamb.  Do the same thing with the garlic cloves.  Finally sprinkle the cumin, pepper, and turmeric all around the tajine.  Chop up the parsley and mint leaves and sprinkle all over the top of the tajine.  Finally pour the 2 tbsp of water over the top of the dish.

Cover up the tajine and place on the stovetop over medium-low heat.  Leave it alone now.  This took about 2 1/2 hours to cook all the way through.  The lamb should be very tender, falling apart and the potatoes soft.  During the cooking process you can check how things are coming along.  Use a spoon to scoop up sauce that is forming at the bottom of the tajine and pour on top of the vegetables and meat.  This adds some extra flavor.

When it’s all done it should look a little bit like this.  Creamy potatoes, delicious sauce and super tender lamb.  Yum. Yum.

I did not have to encourage MarocBaba to eat this.  He dug right in. His first comment was, “where did you learn to make a tajine from Ourika?”  Say what?!  This was my own creation but apparently the flavors and ingredients are akin to a dish that is found in the Ourika valley outside of Marrakech.  I must be channeling my inner Maghrebi.

All that was left……


What are some of your favorite early summer ingredients for cooking?

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