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MOROCCAN COUSCOUS WITH SEVEN VEGETABLES AND LAMB

Ingredient

– 1 kg (2 lbs. 3 oz.) dry couscous (not instant)
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 1 kg (2 lbs. 3 oz.) lamb or beef, cut into large pieces on the bone (or 1 whole chicken)
– 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
– 3 tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
– 1 tablespoon pepper
– 2 teaspoons ginger
– 1 teaspoon turmeric or 1/4 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant
– 1 handful of parsley and cilantro sprigs, tied into a bouquet
– 1/2 of a small cabbage, cut into 2 or 3 sections
– 3 or 4 turnips, peeled and halved
– 10 carrots, peeled and halved
– 1 or 2 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
– 1 or 2 small onions, whole or halved
– 1 small acorn squash, quartered (or a small section of pumpkin, cut into 3″ pieces)
– 4 or 5 small zucchini (long or 8-ball round), ends removed and halved
– 2 or 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and halved (optional)
– 1/4 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight (optional)
– 1/2 cup fresh fava beans (optional)
– 1 or 2 jalapeno or chili peppers
– 2 tablespoons butter (for the couscous)
– 1 tablespoon salt (for the couscous)
– 1 teaspoon smen (Moroccan preserved butter)

Preparation
1 – Mix the meat, onion, tomatoes, oil and spices in the bottom of a couscoussier. Cook uncovered over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the meat is browned and the onions and tomatoes have formed a thick sauce.
2 – Add 2 1/2 liters (about 2 1/2 quarts) of water, the parsley/cilantro bouquet, and the chick peas. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer rapidly for 25 to 30 minutes. (Note: If omitting both meat and chick peas, there’s no need to simmer for awhile before proceeding to the next step.).
3 – While the meat is cooking, get the couscous ready for its first steaming. Oil the steamer basket and set it aside. Empty the dry couscous into a very large bowl, and work in 1/4 cup of vegetable oil with your hands, tossing the couscous and rubbing it between your palms. (This will help prevent the couscous grains from clumping together.) Next, work in 1 cup of water in the same manner, using your hands to evenly distribute the liquid into the couscous. Transfer the couscous to the oiled steamer basket. Add the cabbage to the broth, and place the steamer basket on top. Once you see steam rising from the couscous, steam the couscous for 15 minutes. If you see steam escaping from between the basket and couscoussier, you’ll need to seal the joint. You can do this in several ways:
– wrap and tie a long piece of damp cloth over the joint, or ;
– tightly wrap a long piece of kitchen plastic film around the joint, or ;
– wrap and drape a long piece of kitchen plastic film onto the rim of the couscoussier, and then place the basket on top (this is my preferred method).
4 – Once the couscous has steamed for 15 minutes, empty it back into your large bowl and break it apart.
5 – When the couscous has cooled enough to handle, gradually work in 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt with your hands. Again, toss the couscous and rub it between your palms to break up any balls or clumps. Transfer the couscous back into the steamer, taking care not to pack or compress the couscous. Add the turnips, tomatoes, onions, carrots and fava beans (if using) to the pot. Place the steamer basket on top of the couscoussier, and steam the couscous a second time for 15 minutes, timing from when you see the steam rising from the couscous. (Again, seal the joint if you see steam escaping.) When the couscous has steamed for 15 to 20 minutes, turn it out into the large bowl again. Break it apart, and leave to cool a few minutes..
6 – If using pumpkin, add it to the couscoussier, and cover the pot. Gradually work 3 cups of water into the couscous with your hands, tossing it and rubbing the grains between your palms. Taste the couscous, and add a little salt if desired. Transfer about half of the couscous to the steamer basket. Again, try to handle the couscous lightly and avoid packing it into the steamer. Add the squash, zucchini, and sweet potatoes to the couscoussier, and place the steamer basket on top. (Again, seal the joint if necessary.) When you see the steam rise through the couscous, carefully add the remaining couscous to the steamer. Continue cooking, watching for the steam to rise from the couscous. Allow the couscous to steam a third time for a full 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, all of the vegetables should be cooked. Test the vegetables to be sure, cooking longer if necessary. Taste the sauce – it should be salty and peppery – and adjust the seasoning if desired. If you’re using smen (Moroccan butter), add it to the sauce in the pot.

Serving the Couscous and Vegetables
Empty the couscous into the large bowl, and break it apart. Mix in the 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 ladles of sauce. To serve the couscous, shape it into a mound with a well in the center. Put the meat into the well, and arrange the vegetables on top and all around. Distribute the sauce evenly over the couscous and vegetables, reserving one or two bowlfuls to offer on the side for those who prefer more sauce.

TAJINE OF LAMP WITH ONION JAM

Ingredients

– 1×3 kg leg of Lamb
– 100 g unsalted butter
– ground pepper
– 1 large red onion, finely chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, crushed
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, pinch of chilli powder
– 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron
– 1/3 cup olive oil, water

Preparation
1 – Preheat oven to 175°C. Rub lamb with half the softened butter and season generously all over with ground pepper.
2 – Make spice mix by combining onion and garlic in a bowl with spices, then add olive oil and water. Mix well with a small whisk or fork.
3 – Rub lamb with half the softened butter and season generously with pepper.Combine onion, garlic and spices, then add olive oil, water and mix well.Press half the mixture over the buttered lamb, Place remainder in baking tin, Bake until brown and crisp-skinned, basting frequently with pan juices.
4 – Press half the mixture over buttered lamb. Place remaining mixture in a baking dish big enough to hold the lamb comfortably.
5 – Add the rest of the butter to baking dish place lamb on top. leave at room temperature for at least 1 hour before baking. Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours, basting with pan juices, until lamb is brown and crisp-skinned.

HARIRA SOUP

Ingredients

– 1/2 bowl lentils
– 1 bowl chick-peas
– 1 bowl diced meat
– 1 bowl chopped onion
– 1 bowl blanched and crushed tomatoes
– 1/2 bowl sticks qf celery chopped
– 1 teaspoon ground ginger
– 1 pinch saffron
– 1 teaspoon butter or 1 teaspoon rancid butter
– salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 1/2 litre water
– 1 bowl flour
– 50g tomato puree
– 1/2 bowl fine vermicelli
– 1 bowl parsley and coriander chopped

Preparation
1 – Soak overnight lentils and chick-peas.  Peel the later. Put in a pressure cooker lentils, chick-peas, diced meat, onion, tomatoes, celery, ginger, saffron and butter. Salt and pepper and add 2litres water. Cook for 35min.
2 – Dilute flour with water, whisking energetically to avoid lumps, verify that the meat is cooked, and then add can tomato.  Mix well and pour onto preparation. Stir constantly for 10 min Add to the soup fine vermicelli, parsley and coriander, Stir and simmer one last time for 10 min.

PIGEON PASTILLA (PIGEON PIE)

For 6 servings.
Preparation time: 1h10 minutes.
Cooking time: About 20 minutes.

Ingredients
– 20 large pastilla sheets
– 12 eggs
– 10 Pigeons
– 150 g butter
– 4 grated onion
– 50g blanched, fried and grounded Almonds
– Chopped parsley
– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1 tsp. ginger
– 1/2 tsp. Saffron
– 250g of sugar
– 2 tsp. icing sugar for decoration
– Salt

Making the filling

1 – Place the pigeons into a large pot with the parsley, onion, butter, salt, pepper, saffron, cinnamon and a little sugar. Cook covered over low heat, adding a little water if necessary.
2 – Remove the pigeons when they are cooked and reduce the sauce, stirring constantly, until the liquid has almost evaporated.
3 – Bone the pigeons and place the meat in a bowl; combine the almonds and the remaining sugar in another bowl. Cut the hardboiled eggs into small pieces and place in a third bowl.

Assembling the pastilla

1 – Butter the pastilla mold (a large pie plate) and lay a first layer of pastry sheets in the mold (smooth side down), overlapping them and letting them hang over the edge of the plate by one-third. Place a few sheets in the centre for reinforcement.
2 – Spread a layer of sauce over the pastry, followed by a layer of pigeon meat. Sprinkle with the almond-sugar mixture and pieces of egg. Cover with more pastry sheets.
3 – Repeat the process until you have used all the filling. Fold the overhanging edges of the pastry back over the filling, brush them with beaten egg and cover with another layer of pastry sheets (smooth side up), overlapping them and letting them hang over the edge of the mold.
4 – Tuck the overhanging edges underneath (like making a bed). Brush with soft butter and glaze with egg wash. Bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.
5 – Turn the pastilla gently out onto a platter and slide it back into the mold after adding a few small pieces of butter to the mold. Return it to the oven to brown for a few more minutes.
6 – Gently slide the pastilla onto a serving platter; decorate with a lattice pattern of icing sugar and cinnamon.

Serve hot and enjoy your meal!