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Hearty Harira Soup

28 Aug

Meaty soups are good all year round, summer included. Or in my case, I was feeling under the weather, and a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup left me incredibly disappointed – I didn’t recall supermarket chicken soup being so…bland, yet tinny. So I decided to make this harira soup and set it to cook in my slow cooker overnight, so I could awake to its hearty aroma. You can also make this soup over the stove.

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This recipe calls for boneless lamb, but I got a nice 0.86 lb hunk of lamb shoulder with a large bone in the middle. I cooked with the bone in the soup – just remember to remove it before serving!

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, washed and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • ¾ cup celery, diced (about 3 ribs)
  • 28oz canned tomatoes, chopped, with juice
  • 5 cups chicken stock or water
  • ~ ¾ lb boneless lamb rack or shoulder, cut into 1-centimeter dice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp tumeric
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • pinch saffron threads
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 4 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro

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Directions

  1. In a large pan, sautee onion in olive oil until soft, about 2 minutes.DSC02305
  2. Add lamb, and cook 2-3 minutes until lamb pieces are seared.
  3. In a large (6 quart or larger) slow cooker, add chickpeas, lentils, celery, canned tomatoes, chicken stock and water, sugar, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger.  Add the onions and lamb.
  4. Stir lightly to combine.Harira soup
  5. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, or HIGH for 4-5 hours.
  6. Add lemon juice, spinach, and saffron threads. Stir.DSC02307
  7. Serve, with chopped cilantro.

Makes about 3 quarts

 

Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

4 Apr

It can still be nippy outside in the Spring….let’s keep making soup! A few weeks ago, I dined at a Nepalese restaurant and had a delicious yellow lentil soup. I was inspired to make my own. But I couldn’t find yellow lentils at the store, only red ones. What’s the difference anyway? It turns out that red lentils are really just a split and hulled version of yellow lentils, and they will turn golden once cooked. So I guess I’m making red-slash-yellow lentil soup. And then I had some trouble finding a Nepalese recipe, so let’s just go with a Moroccan recipe. (Adapted from culinate.com)

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cups dried red lentils, washed and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

 Directions

  1. Wash and rinse lentils until the water runs clear. Unlike larger beans, lentils do not have to be soaked prior to cooking – they cook quite quickly. However, you can soak them for about 1 hour if you wish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onions until tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, coriander, salt, cumin, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, and cinnamon. Cook for another minute.
  4. Add vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.red lentil soup
  5. Pour the mixture into a slow cooker (5- or 6-quart). Add lentils and celery. Cook 4-5 hours on HIGH or 8-10 hours on LOW. If you do not have a slow cooker, finish cooking this soup on the stovetop – it will only take an hour or so. This Moroccan lentil soup smells amazing as it cooks! 
  6. Add in lemon juice, parsley, and cilantro and cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.This Moroccan lentil soup smells amazing as it cooks!

DSC02117I like this lentil soup served with crusty bread and garnished with a bit of parsley.

Perfect Pork Tenderloin Rubs and Marinades

12 Apr

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Here are four easy ways to marinate and bake pork tenderloin, guaranteeing a delicious meal! Marinate overnight, or even a couple days. I like to prep four tenderloins at once. Then, when I get home from work, I pop them in the oven, and there’s enough for dinner for both me and my boyfriend, and lunch for the rest of the week.

1) Cumin – Coriander Rub

For each tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pound of meat), use 1 tsp each:

  • cumin
  • coriander
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • thyme

Pair this simple tenderloin goes well with basmati rice, couscous, you name it!

IMG_00222) Chinese Five Spice Marinade

For each tenderloin, use:

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, sliced or mashed
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil

Serve this tenderloin with Jasmine rice or sliced over noodles in soup.

IMG_01433) Moroccan Rub

For each tenderloin, use:

  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • salt, pepper to taste

The rub imparts a slightly crunchy texture to the outside of the pork. Shown here served with a sweet potato and bell peppers, but I also think this tenderloin goes well with couscous studded with raisins and diced carrots.

 4) Apple Cider Vinegar Marinade

For 4 tenderloins (about 5 pounds meat) I used:

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary

The apple cider ensures that the pork will come out extra moist!

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place tenderloins on a flat rack on a roasting pan.
  3. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature of the meat reaches 5-10 degrees below the final desired temperature.
  5. Remove from oven. Let tenderloins rest under a tented piece of aluminum foil. (Pork will continue to cook slightly).
  6. Slice and serve!

 

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Chicken and Vegetable Tagine

27 Jan

I came across a recipe credited to cookbook author Bruce Aidelis and made a few tweaks based on the ingredients I had at home. My recipe uses chicken breast tenderloins (the flap of meat you usually find attached to the chicken breast), which are a convenient size and come out more tender than the breast itself. The eggplant holds the tagine flavours very well.

chicken tagine

Ingredients

Spice Mix
1 tbsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp fennel seeds

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground ginger

ground black pepper to taste

The Rest
6 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, slivered

6 large cloves garlic, minced

1 cup cherry tomatoes (alternatively, use drained diced tomatoes)

1 cup crushed tomatoes

3 tbsp lemon juice

16 chicken breast tenderloins (or use 8 chicken legs with thighs)

1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions
1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large, wide pot over low heat. Cook onions and garlic, covered, until softened, stirring occasionally (~10 min.)
2. Add all the spices and stir over low heat (1 min.)

spice blend for tagine
3. Add all tomatoes, water, and lemon juice. Bring to boil (2 min.)

sauce for tagine
4. Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer in the pot, spooning some sauce over them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer (15 min.)
5. Turn chicken over and simmer until tender (~20 min.) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F.
6. Toss eggplant in remaining oil. Spread on baking sheet and roast until soft and golden (~25 min.), tossing once.
7. Stir eggplant in with the chicken.

Serve on a bed of spinach, with couscous.

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