Grilled Tandoori Lamb

Grlled Tandoori Lamb

I don’t know about you guys, but last week was a rough one! That’s what happens when you take a break and potter about at home in your pajamas or leisurely sip lattes and cappuccinos at your local coffee shop without a care in the world. Chatting about coffee beans and roasters with your local baristas, exchanging coffee beans and sampling brew upon brew is all fine and dandy, but then eventually you realise that your free time has come to an end and you have to get back to work.¬† Continue reading

Harissa Roasted Lamb

Moroccan Dinner-lamb

One more summer adventure to tell you about and then I’ll be done. I can then get down to some serious pumpkin cooking and baking….not. I’m glad to see though that the pumpkin craze is a bit milder this year. Honestly, how many dishes can you really destroy with pumpkin before people revolt? OK, OK, I’ll stop with the pumpkin negativity ūüôā I know there are people who wait all year for this season and I don’t want to ruin it for them.

Custom Vent Hood

Their beautiful kitchen with new cabinets, range hood and Thermador appliances

The last fun event I was fortunate enough to attend and work, was a dinner that was sponsored by Specialty Appliance, and Kitchens by Wedgewood. I had the fortune to be asked to cater the dinner and the event. The purpose of the dinner was so our clients could welcome their guests to the newly remodelled kitchen where they could admire the new cabinetry, the Raw Urth range hood and the new Thermador appliances in action.

Nazneen

This could be my cookbook photo?

I supplied the action, and the dinner, of course. It was pretty nerve wracking to take over someone else’s brand new kitchen to cook a whole dinner! However, the clients were so wonderful and put me at ease and I went about doing what I do best (amongst other things ūüôā ), cooking.

Moroccan Dinner-8

Raw Urth range hood, this is an absolutely beautiful work of art and functionality.

I had met with the hosts of the dinner beforehand so we could discuss what kind of menu appealed to them and what kind of food they’d like to serve that evening. They are really laid back and casual and a fun couple. They have such a beautiful home up in the mountains by Boulder Canyon.

Moroccan Dinner

We decided on a Moroccan inspired menu and I set about making a menu. Since Morocco has such a strong French influence, I used a lot of French inspiration with a Moroccan twist. Rather than write, I’ll let the photos show most of the evening.

Moroccan Dinner

The recipe I want to share today happens to be the Harissa Roasted Lamb I made for the dinner. However, the lamb made that evening was made on the rotisserie that’s a feature available in the oven they purchased. It was quite a sight! And took no longer than a regular oven to cook.¬†

Moroccan Dinner

Not everyone has rotisseries in their ovens so the lamb I’m posting today is cooked in a regular oven. It comes out just as juicy and tender as the rotisserie version; you just don’t get the show.

Moroccan Dinner-

Harissa Roasted Lamb

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 10-12 servings

Juicy and succulent leg of lamb roasted with Ras el Hanout spices and Harissa.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. The lamb can be marinated the night before and refrigerated.
  2. Unroll the boneless leg of lamb and lay flat.
  3. Smear half the Harissa paste on the inside of the lamb, sprinkle with half of the Ras El Hanout spices,
  4. add pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Flip the lamb over and repeat on the top side.
  6. Roll the lamb back up and tie neatly to form a uniform roll.
  7. Place in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours.
  8. Before roasting, pull out the lamb from the fridge and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
  10. Place the lamb on a rack in a baking sheet or roasting tin.
  11. Add a temperature probe and set for desired doneness.
  12. Place in the oven and roast.
  13. For a 4¬Ĺ pound piece of lamb, it takes about 20 minutes a pound for rare and 30 minutes a pound for medium.
  14. It took me about 90 minutes to get a nice pink medium.
  15. In the rotisserie, the lamb turned beautiful golden brown by itself while rotating.
  16. In the oven, in the last 15 minutes, turn up the oven to 500F/220C to get a nice, crispy brown outside.
  17. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing into thick slices.
  18. Serve with Harissa vinaigrette if desired, or this herb sauce
Notes
You can use a bone in leg of lamb and just cut slits in the meat and smear in some harissa and then cover the leg all over with more harissa and Ras el Hanout. Your cooking time will vary of course.
The chermoula sauce that was used to marinate the Herb Grilled Chicken goes wonderfully with this lamb as well.
I used the last of my homemade harissa on this lamb and bought some extra from Whole Foods, which is quite excellent. You can either make your own or buy a jar.

As you might remember, I’m not a fan of lamb at all….and I mean, at all. Lately though, I’ve been making lamb for my dinner parties because everyone else in my family enjoys it and this way, most of it gets eaten. Everyone raves about it so I guess it’s good, I, however, will never know, and that’s all right by me!

For you lamb lovers out there, try this, it really is good, juicy and tender with a lovely hit of spice.

Moroccan Dinner

Appetisers: roasted grapes in balsamic, whipped Feta dip and Merguez meatballs (not shown)

On the topic of dinner parties, I am a little curious of dinner party etiquettes that I know exist and that I’m quite sure I follow. I was just wondering what you guys think they are? First off, I must say that in this day and age, I don’t expect anything from anyone. It just seems that’s the society we’ve become.¬†

Moroccan Dinner Nazneen-1

I don’t expect a “hello” from the friends of my daughters that come through my door for whatever reason, I don’t expect a “thank you” when I drop them off home at times, I don’t expect a RSVP unless I hunt one down, I don’t expect a “thank you” email or text after a party I’ve hosted and I certainly never expect a hostess gift when I host a party. I may be wrong to not expect general courtesies, but I’m tired of being disappointed so I just don’t care now.

Moroccan Dinner

Butternut squash and sweet potato salad, vegetable tagine, couscous with preserved lemons and almonds

This doesn’t mean that I have taught my children to do the same, no. They are always to hold a conversation and to always be courteous and polite with all adults, especially their friends’ parents, and I’m glad to say they do. This is probably why they are the favourites of those parents.¬†

I always RSVP and send a thank you email, text or phone call. I never turn up at a party empty handed, but maybe this is just me. Your turn to chime in. What do you think is the expectation?

Green Masala Meat~Hare Masala Gosht

As much as I love the winter months with their brisk mornings, chilly nights and snowy beauty, the early evenings really do a number on my photographs. I have barely seconds before finishing a dish, setting it up and then quickly trying to capture a few photos and then my light disappears. *SIGH*. So, if my food begins to look dull and grey, it’s the lack of natural light and not¬†necessarily¬†my food!

I thought I’d better clear that up because I took the pictures of this coriander meat dish very close to sun down. They didn’t turn out too bad but I took many photos and only like five were worth using.

We’ve had a fun and busy weekend as many Eid al Adha¬†festivities¬†took place. My father is also in town from Houston and it’s been lovely having him pottering about at home. He’s very low¬†maintenance¬†and will get his own breakfast and tea which really helps me out if I want to sleep in a bit or if I get engrossed in something.

Yesterday, was my wedding anniversary. Trace brought me beautiful pink/red roses (Rainforest Alliance certified, of course), took me to a delicious dinner at The Kitchen in Boulder and then we went to see a film. I wanted to take a picture of my food at the restaurant but the lighting was so soft, it would not have come out at all.

We started with some garlic fries that were to die for! They went fabulously with my non¬†alcoholic cocktail. For our main course, Trace chose a delicate skate wing with¬†broccoli, fried capers and brown butter sauce. He said it was amazing. I picked hand rolled gnocchi; soft, chewy and crispy all at the same time.¬†Deliciously¬†divine. We finished off our dinner with a warm and gooey, sticky toffee pudding topped with some vanilla gelato. I could not move. I think this was one of the best anniversary dinners we’ve had and if you live in Colorado, you must check out The Kitchen; you will not be disappointed. All their food is organic and sourced from local farms and businesses; one more great reason to go.

I had my first dinner party in quite a while this last weekend.  It was really nice to have some special people over and cook a typical Hyderabadi meal. I like to think it was a success and that everyone enjoyed their meal. Maybe one of my guests could comment below because I know she reads my blog on occasion (hint, hint).

One of the dishes I made was this green masala meat. The green masala is made with cilantro/corainder and mint leaves. I usually make this with chicken but on Sunday I used some goat meat. You can use lamb also which is the way my mum made it when I was growing up. I can handle goat meat in small doses and only in a dry, masala preparation. I do not like it in any stew like curry (it’s my weird smell/taste issues that are materialising as I grow older).

This dish comes together very quickly once the meat has been cooked. To make sure the meat is tender, I use a pressure cooker and cook the meat completely before¬†saut√©ing¬† it with the cilantro-mint-onion paste. Works really well with boneless cuts of meat and that way you’re not dealing with little bones, but use whatever you have.

This was one of my family’s favourite dishes growing up. I¬†remember my mum would take a little bit of rice and use that to mop up all the remaining sauce in the pot and give it to me. That was the best tasting rice ever!

I used two pounds (1kg) of meat with bones and it’s enough for the six of us. If you use boneless meat and other¬†accompaniments, you can get eight servings.

Hare Masala Gosht~Green Masala Meat

 

2lbs/1 kg meat, with or without bones

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 onion, large, roughly chopped

1 large bunch cilantro/coriander, stems included

1 bunch fresh mint, tender stems included

2 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 teaspoon ginger, minced

1 large green chilli

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

3 tablespoons canola or grape seed oil

 

In a pressure cooker, add the meat, the red chilli powder, turmeric, 1 teaspoon of garlic and 1 teaspoon of ginger and cover with water ( at least 2 cups).

Pressure cook according to your instructions. My cooker takes 20 minutes to tenderise the meat, usually. Put aside.

Lightly brown the chopped onion in a drop of oil.

In a food processor bowl, add the browned onions, the cilantro leaves, the mint leaves and the green chilli.

Whiz to a paste with a drop or two of water, if needed.

Heat a fry pan on medium heat and add the oil. Drain the cooked meat and carefully add the meat only to the oil in the pan.

Fry to brown the meat a bit.

Add the cilantro-onion-mint paste to the meat and toss to coat.

Add the remaining bit of ginger and garlic and the cumin and coriander powders.

Sauté the meat in the paste till the meat is browned and the paste is thickened and coats the meat.

When the oil begins to release from the meat, the dish is done.

Check for salt.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I have been told by my husband and children that I cannot just NOT cook that day. I did that last year without their permission and they were well miffed. This year if I don’t produce a feast I shall have a mutiny on my hands. This year is different though; we’ve settled in now and have things in order. We have somewhat of a social life and I have invited some friends over for Thanksgiving dinner, so, this year I shall put forth some effort like Thanksgivings past.

We do have some traditional items that are requested every year. What are some of your family’s favourite Thanksgiving dishes?

Have a great rest of the week and as always thank you for your support! I look forward to hearing about all your Thanksgiving feasts.

 UPDATE: I am entering this, minty and cilantro meat masala over at Karens Lavender and Lovage blog for the February Herbs on Saturday Challenge. Check out other great entries using herbs in cooking.

herbsonsaturday

Fried Lamb and Potatoes~Bhuna Gosht-Aloo

I wrote about my lamb experience a couple of posts back and despite my lack of enthusiasm for the stuff, I still have lamb in the freezer that needs to be cooked. I may not like it, but my husband and the children enjoy it so I made some for them the other day.

The way my mother made it most often was this fried or bhuna, as we say in Urdu, version. I think my dad enjoyed this and that’s why it was made so often! It is very good…if you like lamb. I¬†remember¬†really enjoying it as a child when I¬†obviously¬†had working taste buds and a muted sense of smell. I don’t think she used onions but I add one so that there is some masala that can be mopped up with some bread or rice. Potatoes are a natural accompaniment to meat, even in Indian cooking. I think the ubiquitous¬†meat¬†and potatoes ¬†holds no boundaries and travels from cuisine to cuisine in some delicious disguise.

Like with most red meat, it is much easier to get the flesh tender if you use a pressure cooker. You can braise it for a couple of hours if you wish, but if you own a pressure cooker, use it! At my high altitude, tenderising meat is a challenge and it literally takes over two hours to get meat fork tender. The pressure cooker is one of the most frequently used pans in my kitchen. I think that is payback for all the times I used to make fun of my sister who swears by her pressure cooker.

Let me know what you think.

The dish serves 6-8 along with other accompaniments.

Fried Lamb with Potatoes

1 ¬Ĺ lb/680g lamb, boneless pieces

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ginger, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

1 cinnamon stick

2 green chillies

handful cilantro

2 tablespoons oil

3 medium, gold potatoes, medium dice

2 cups/473 ml water

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil on medium heat and add the onions.

Sauté the onions till golden brown, add the garlic and ginger and cook a minute.

Add the lamb and brown.

Add the cinnamon stick, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red chilli powder.

Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook the meat until tender (make sure there is enough water so the onions don’t burn)

My pressure cooker takes 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, add the potatoes and the green chillies and cook uncovered until the potatoes are tender and the water has evaporated ( I transferred mine into a frying pan to expedite the evaporation process)

Once the water has evaporated and the oil has separated, add the cilantro and the black pepper and check for salt.

It’s a pity that I didn’t get to eat this dish because it smelled divine and the masala was fantastic. The peppery spiciness along with the sweet, caramelised onions. My family enjoyed it for dinner the first night and then they finished the leftovers for breakfast with some eggs. So, I know I have an issue with lamb but I can still cook it and it tastes really good and I hope you will try it, especially if you love lamb.

Have a great day and thank you for reading.