Fair warning, this is definitely a post for carnivores. But if you are a carnivore, strap yourself in. Let me introduce you to what I like to think of as Morocco’s answer to the U.S.A.’s Southern Barbecue.
Mechoui Lamb, baby. THE street food of the back alleys of Marrakesh.
In the back streets of Morocco, if you look in the right place, I’m told that you will find this delicious delicacy. Tender, whole lamb, slowly cooked in an underground pit-oven, until perfectly crisp and melting.
If you know the right person to ask, you can order a pile this delicate meat, and it will come to you alongside a few hearty, knotty rounds of Khobz, the traditional wholemeal bread of Morroco, and a little pile of cumin and sea salt.
If ever I wanted to win someone over to trying Lamb, which I don’t because what you eat is up to you, but if I did, this is what I would make. So delicious, so tender, so easy. This has everything going for it, and with that sprinkle of cumin and sea salt, and the crusty khobz bread, it’s very easy to close your eyes and pretend that the sounds of the souk are right outside your door.
I think if you’re eating this for dinner, and not as a street-snack in Marrakesh, you do need to have something light and refreshing alongside. A carrot and orange salad, or just some lemony-dressed green leaves would be perfect.
So would you ever want to go to Marrakesh? As a 1960s obsessive, the whole flowing-kaftan, rock and roll aspect of it appeals to me a lot. But as I get older, I am becoming more and more fascinated by the history of that part of the world.
And of course, the food would be amazing. Have you been, would you go? Tell me your thoughts!
- 1 x 2kg (4 pound) shoulder of lamb
- Salt and pepper
- 1 + ⅔ cups (250g) plain flour
- 1 cup (160g) wholemeal flour
- ⅔ cup (100g) fine semolina
- 1½ tsp yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 + ½ cups (375ml) warm water
- Cumin seeds
- To serve:
- Ground cumin
- flaky sea salt
- fresh salad ingredients
- Preheat the oven to 450F (230C).
- Place the lamb, fat side up into a roasting dish, and season it VERY generously all over with salt and pepper. Rub the salt and pepper into the meat really well, and you can slash it in a few places if you like.
- Add about a cup of water to the bottom of the tray, cover the whole thing tightly with foil and place it in the oven. Turn the temperature down to 340F (170C) immediately, and leave it to slowly cook for 4 hours, or until it easily shreds apart.
- Meanwhile, to make the Khobz, place all the ingredients except the cumin into a bowl and bring them together. Knead the mixture until it is smooth and elastic, and only slightly tacky.
- Place in a bowl and cover with plastic, and then leave it in a warm place until doubled in size.
- When the dough has risen, punch it down and shape it into 6 x 5 inch rounds. Scatter some cumin seeds over each one, and set aside to rise again, until doubled in size.
- Bake the bread for 25 minutes, or until browned and hollow sounding, when tapped.
- Serve the lamb shredded, with rounds of warm bread, and plenty of ground cumin and sea salt for sprinkling over. This is particularly nice with a crunchy carrot salad, and plenty of fresh parsley and mint on the side.