Saturday, 16 July 2011

EASY SATURDAY SUPPER - LAMB MECHOUI

First, apologies to Demon Cook fans and followers for the lack of posts recently: I have been exceptionally busy in my other life as a piano teacher, with end of term concerts, paperwork (to ensure I get paid next term!) and various other piano admin. The end of term is nigh, at last, and I can look forward to a rest and lots of therapeutic cooking and piano playing (mine - and other people's at Prom concerts this summer).

Now, for tonight's supper. When I asked Other Half what he fancied for dinner, he said "Moroccan style lamb chops, grilled" which I instantly translated at Lamb Mechoui. Hailing from Morocco, mechoui is whole lamb, spit-roasted over the embers of an open fire, basted with a mixture of butter, saffron, cumin, salt and paprika. Translating this to a more domestic setting is simple enough: swap the whole lamb for chops. The spice mixture remains the same. I sometimes do this on the barbecue, which probably lends a more authentic flavour to it, but otherwise I just whack the chops on the cast-iron griddle. Keep the accompaniments simple - some good bread and/or a Moroccan or Greek-style salad and perhaps a yoghurt or garlic sauce.

This recipe comes from Casa Moro, the second of the trio of books by the chef-owners of Moro in London's trendy Hoxton. Worth a visit, if you can face the drive across London.....

Serves 4
2 tbsps whole cumin seeds, freshly ground
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1 tbsp sea salt, roughly crumbled
12-16 small lamb chops (rack chops) depending on size
40g butter, melted

Mix the spices together in a bowl. Just before you are ready to cook the chops, brush them with melted butter and dust liberally with half the spice mix. When cooked, serve immediately with some of the remaining spice-salt mixture on the side.

Instead of chops, you could cover a whole shoulder of lamb with the mix and roast it in the oven (or on the barbecue) at 160C for 4-5 hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Keep basting the meat with the buttery, spicy juices that collect in the roasting tin. Serve with extra spice-salt on the side.

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