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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Challenge #2 the Anti-Comfort Zone or Lamb Couscous a Journey to Morocco


From 400 we become 200 and it happens because of you - please vote for me here.

First of all I want to thank everyone who voted for me - this is not something I could do alone because if it was we could dispense of this entire competition and simply declare me the Food Blogger Extraordinaire; in fact if I could I would declare all kinds of things and bestow many accolades upon me, I would give myself the Nobel Prize for blogging if I had things my way. All silliness aside thank - you. Now on to the next challenge.

This second challenge threw me for a loop a little since I dont have anything outside of my comfort zone. I know that sounds grandiose and all encompassing to say the least but it is how I feel. I will try anything and more than likely I have. I struggled hard to think of something that you couldnt find on my blog if you went through my archives. It would have been easy for me to pick something and try and pass it off but if you did a little research you might find that I had made it before so that is where we get to Morocco.

I have not posted nor made a Moroccan dish in my memory - this cuisine is outside of my comfort zone, so to speak. I dont use recipes - I read recipes and learn the ingredients and since I know a lot of technique I pretty much follow my instincts, that is what I did with this dish. I did look at this recipe for basic inspiration and, like the speed limits in Manhattan, this was a guideline.

New York Magazine

Lamb Couscous

Provided by: Chef Olivier Muller
Served at: DB Bistro Moderne

  • Type of Dish: Main Courses
  • Servings: 2
  • Cuisine: North African, Middle Eastern
  • Special Requests: Budget-Friendly
  • Ingredients
4 pieces lamb stew meat, bone in (I used a shank and some assorted pieces)
4 tbsps. olive oil
1 tbsp. za’atar
1 tbsp. harissa
1 onion, diced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots sliced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup dry semolina couscous
1 spoon golden raisins, plumped in hot water (I used 6 dates)
2 sprigs mint, chopped (I used mint, cilantro and parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Season lamb with salt and pepper. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the lamb over medium heat.

When lightly browned, sprinkle lamb with the za’atar and add the harissa paste. Cook for a minute until the spices are fragrant, then add just enough water to barely cover the lamb. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover. Let cook approximately 2 hours, adding additional water as necessary, until lamb is tender.

Using a sauté pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the zucchini, onion, carrots and garlic until lightly browned. Transfer the vegetables to the lamb stew pot and continue to cook another 30 minutes. The stew is done when the lamb is tender.

While the stew is cooking, steam the couscous according to the directions. Once it is cooked, fluff it with a fork. Add the raisins(dates), chopped mint, and salt and pepper to taste.

Assembly:
Divide the couscous into bowls, ladle on the lamb stew with the vegetables, and top with a sprig of fresh mint. (I used a mint, parsley and cilantro mix) (Published 2008) (this is not the original recipe I have edited it)


There you have it - my little journey to North Africa, the dish was tasty, satisfying and absolutely delightful it is definitely in my comfort zone now!

See having great flavors all in one bowl served family style can be exciting. Voting starts tomorrow on the 27th of September - I will post a link for you. Here we go friends - prepping for challenge #3 - who wants to come to a dinner party?

54 comments:

Sippity Sup said...

I love how you tell it like it is! Good Luck. GREG

Kathy Gori said...

This looks so delicious! It's weird stepping outside ones' comfort zone but so worth it when the results are this good.

FOODalogue said...

What? No Pulitzer? Very nice entry and I like the idea that you decided to go for it and used a shank. Good luck!

Marjie said...

Is there a Nobel Prize for bloggery? I just didn't know that.

Lindsey @ FRESH AIR + FRESH FOOD said...

Love one bowl dinners - time to go to Morroco! Love the dish too! With that dish, you had to do Morrocan!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

The lamb looks BEAUTIFUL! Good luck and I hope we can both advance to the next round of #PFB2010!

Christina said...

Whoa, this looks beautiful!! I have never cooked Moroccan either. Reading through your recipe I love all the foreign spices and things I have never heard of. You're lucky you're in NYC where you can readily find all of that!

I, too, wish we could invite fellow bloggers to our Challenge #3 dinner party! I found myself daydreaming of that as I brainstormed. hehe

girlichef said...

Sounds amazing!!! And looks gorgeous... good luck in this round =)

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

A great earthy dish. Moroccan food is always so comforting! Congratulations on moving forward!

Cynthia said...

Oh boy, you have pulled out all the stops with this one.

Belinda @zomppa said...

Moroccan flavors are so lovely - great dish!

5 Star Foodie said...

It's awesome! Getting hungry just looking at that lamb :) Good luck in the round 2!

Adelina said...

Very nice creation!

Jeannie said...

This is the 3rd Moroccan dish I have seen and I am loving it!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Very impressive Christo. Good luck in round two. We're with you all the way.
Sam

Anna's Table said...

Looks pretty authentic and delicious, just like the one my Moroccan friend makes. Good luck with the challenge.

Doc said...

Looks divine! A Middle Eastern slow cooked feast! Well done-hope you win!!!

Victoria K. said...

Wow, great job Christo! You really went full-force with this challenge! I hope you make it to the next round, I'll definitely vote for you :)

Mama Cupcake said...

Oh Christo I hope you win! I have always thought you should have your own show since you have such a unique style of cooking and well...your a character!

Christine

simona said...

Hey Christo, I did vote for you, you are such a avid cook, this menu must taste awesome with this mix of various herb flavors, dumb up, keep on going :)

Savory Sweet Living said...

This challenge is not as easy as some may think especially w/ your experience. Good job and you got my vote!

East Village Eats said...

Looking good Christo! i might have to try that, don't cook lamb that much, but you make it look delicious! You have my vote!

Jenn said...

Cool. I've never had real Moroccan cuisine before. I've actually been interested in trying it, but find a place that serves the cuisine is a bit tough. Or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. I'm in LA after all. Well done!! You got my vote (again). :)

Carrie said...

I LOVE Moroccan food but have never bought harissa. Thanks for the recipe!

Jill said...

Oh my! Again, mouth waterage!

Karen said...

This dish looks fantastic! The flavors sound great...I love za'atar. Good luck in the contest!

Deborah Dowd said...

This looks like a wonderful dish!! I am a big lamb fan, Iso I will give this a try! Best of luck and you have one of my votes!

Magic of Spice said...

Outstanding entry...Love the post :)

Belinda @zomppa said...

Already voted!

Liz Barrett said...

Wow - love your Moroccan post! Photos are beautiful, food looks amazing. I am headed to Morocco on vacation in two weeks and just ate my first Moroccan meal at Shokran here in Chicago a week ago. Thanks for helping me stay excited and inspired to cook Moroccan! Good luck (I voted for you!)

onlinepastrychef said...

I love your understanding of the disconnect between recipes and techniques. It really is the techniques that are vital--the rest is just a list of stuff. Wonderful take on Moroccan food:)

Gina MarySol Ruiz said...

What a beautiful and interesting entry. You have my vote. Good luck!

zenchef said...

Dude, you know i would vote for you for President!
This is a beautiful dish. Craving big time over here.
Good luck to you!

jacobskitchen said...

Great post! Looks delicious. I voted for you!

Good luck! =)

You can check out my PFB post at :http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/864

The Duo Dishes said...

Love your little tagine! You're going straight to round 3 friend!

House of Annie said...

voted.

Yummm, that lamb looks so savory and delicious. Well done!

Jason Phelps said...

I am getting to a point of loving lamb. We didn't eat it (Mom didn't make it) as a kid so I am only discovering it now.

Jason

LaDivaCucina said...

Great job Doggy! I've been cooking lamb couscous for a long time because I"ve been lucky enough to have a Bedouin friend that owned a restaurant and we would go on Wednesday for his special couscous night! Also good in the mix are turnips and a bit of cinnamon. We used to use harissa as a condiment with merguez sausage. YUM! I've also made the actual couscous using apricot nectar, very nice indeed!

Well done, off to vote now!

LaDivaCucina said...

Ooh, I forgot, Said would also put chickpeas in his stew too. YUM!

A Year on the Grill said...

Greg, good luck in the contest... Of course I voted for you

doggybloggy said...

LOL - I am not Greg! Greg is the first commentor at the top of the list........hahahahaha

A Year on the Grill said...

Cristo, I am sorry about the name thing... to many blogs I follow (or too old)... but I did vote for this blog

doggybloggy said...

Dave - no problem - just dont confuse Keith Richards and Mick Jagger - that would be way worse...LOL

Ed said...

You won my vote and my respect. I like your post and I love your hustle. You leaked your menu to get votes and I am very impressed. Good Job and Good Luck my friend.

Daily Spud said...

Morocco, done. Got it. Good luck with moving on from this round!

Queen of Cuisine said...

Looks great! I sent you a vote.

Lisa

Vickie said...

Beautiful dish - looks amazing and you totally deserve a win!

Baking Barrister said...

shh don't tell anyone but that's the best looking Moroccan dish I've seen thus far this challnge. The meat just looks so juicy.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

This looks great! I wish I brave enough to attempt food like this :)

danasfoodforthought said...

I had a similar predicament, but ended up identifying a new cuisine and loving the results! I love couscous, and my favorite one is actually from a Moroccan restaurant in the East Village... yours looks very similar to that and super delicious! Great job!

Tangled Noodle said...

Your instincts hit the spot - this dish is so tempting! Congratulations on moving forward in Project Food Blog and I'm eagerly anticipating your Round #3 entry. Just voted! 8-)

Chow and Chatter said...

wow fab job I need to get a tangine just voted all the best sweet Christo Rebecca

Reeni said...

Right back at you! Voted and tweeted - good luck!!

Fresh Local and Best said...

The lamb shank over the couscous looks amazing! This was a great challenge!

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