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Another of the 2018 food trends I have been reading about is the use of North African/Moroccan spices. Think of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, saffron, and paprika. Also think tender slow-cooked meat, hearty vegetables, bright fresh herbs, and hunks of bread to soak up the tasty sauce. One of these cold winter nights, take your own journey on the spice road with these two exotic dishes.

Honey-Braised Lamb Shanks (Mrouzia)

from Saveur

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 lamb shanks (or shoulder)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp. ras el hanout (recipe here)
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed saffron threads
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup blanched whole almonds
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Directions:
  1. Heat oil and butter in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season lamb generously with salt and pepper, and cook, turning as needed, until well browned all over, about 12 minutes. Transfer lamb to a plate; set aside.
  2. Add onion to pot, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add raisins, ras el hanout, saffron, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lamb, almonds, honey, and 3 cups water, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and cook, partially covered, until lamb is very tender, about 3-1/2 hours.
  3. Divide meat and sauce among serving plates, and sprinkle each with sesame seeds. Serves 4 people.

Moroccan Potato Salad

from Saveur

Ingredients:
  • 2 lb. scrubbed new potatoes
  • 3/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 peeled minced small red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Place new potatoes in a pot of cold salted water. Cook over medium-high heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool.
  2. Combine parsley, red onion, garlic, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Peel potatoes, then coarsely chop; add to dressing and mix. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4-6 people.

For more amazing North African recipes, click here. I particular want to try the tahini-beet dip, the chicken and onion tagine, and the Moroccan meatballs on a bed of arugula. Here’s to tasty travels!