This Moroccan style lamb and vegetable dinner has made its way onto high rotation on our family dinner menu. It’s simple and delicious, plus a great dish for preparing ahead or making in bulk and freezing for later, or for a friend. Easy to make and easy to share!
Have you ever noticed that most simple meals often follow a formula:
– meat (or some other protein)
– secret herbs and spices
– something on the side
This particular example has all of the above: diced lamb and chickpeas, chunky veggies, my favourite herbs and spices which all add up to what I would describe as Moroccan style, served with sides such as couscous, refreshing cucumber and mint, and a store bought dip like tzatziki or hummus.
How do you like your eggplant?
I have to say that undercooked eggplant is not something I enjoy. I much prefer my eggplant almost overcooked, to the point where the tough skin is tough no more, and the slightly spongy, bland texture has practically dissolved and absorbed the flavours around it.
That explains the method for cooking the eggplant in this recipe, where I suggest brushing slices with olive oil, grilling on a BBQ or grill until nicely browned, and left to continue cooking until a little gooey. Now see what happens when you add this kind of eggplant to the dish! Yes, it will add to the complexity of flavours and textures in an otherwise simple dish, and it will taste good, very good.
Secret herbs and spices
I was introduced to sumac a few years ago and now count it in my top 3 favourite spices. It has a sweet but tangy, really interesting flavour, which sits perfectly with eggplant, chickpeas and lamb. Try your local grocer if you don’t see it in the supermarket.
My top spice: paprika, the smoked kind. I love it, and put it in everything (well, almost everything). Try adding paprika to anything with egg and/or potatoes, like a frittata, or roast vegetables, or polenta, or . . .
This recipe combines sumac and paprika, together with the usual suspects of garlic, olive oil and red wine, and don’t underestimate the power of salt and pepper to lift a dish. I have oregano growing like a weed in my back garden, so I had to include that as well. One last thing – a little lemon adds a little something just before serving.
Meat and other things
If you have more time than money, buy a boned shoulder of lamb and dice it yourself rather than starting with diced lamb. Similarly, stick with the convenience of canned chickpeas if you like, or cook the chickpeas yourself from dried.
Since you’ve got the BBQ or grill working already for the eggplant, why not use it to sear the lamb? The meat doesn’t need to cook very long on the hot BBQ as it will continue to cook in the hot vegetables, and the lean pieces will stay tender if they are not overcooked.
This recipe works well with vegetables that hold together fairly well when cooked, things like carrots, red capsicum (bell pepper) and zucchini. A bonus is the variety of colour in the finished dish. Feel free to replace these vegetables with whatever you have on hand.
Simple lamb and vegetable Moroccan style dinner
This is an easy one to multiply and make in bulk. May I suggest that next time you cook it, you make twice (or three times) as much and freeze it for later meals? Add some variety by changing up the side dishes, for example a hearty quinoa salad or some flatbread with a green salad.