Tag Archives: ras el hanout

This Little Piggy Stayed Home

As our weather starts warming up, my thoughts are full of ways to utilize our gas grill. I love virtually anything grilled, from veggies, to pizza, to skewers, to ribs. I recognize that this is my second post in a row using my Ras el Hanout spice blend, but it’s so extremely versatile. Here I use it in both the marinade and the basting sauce. I can’t stand over-cooked pork, and this treatment is fool-proof using the combination of boneless country-style ribs that are marinated and basted with a blend of marinade and honey. They are served over roasted sweet peppers and red onions.

The relish, really compliments the grilled skewers, with bold flavors of grilled onions, olives, capers, balsamic vinegar and parsley. I could easily see this relish on grilled flank steak as well. I was recently gifted with a bottle of 18 year balsamic vinegar, which put it over the top!

MARINATED PORK SKEWERS WITH ONION, CAPER RELISH

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated on micro planer
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ras El Hanout
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons local honey
  • 2 onions, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 6ths
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 cup red grape tomatoes

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, Ras el hanout, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons of marinade to small bowl and set aside. Combine remaining marinade and cubed pork in 1-gallon zip lock bag and toss to coat. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place peppers, red onions and grape cherry tomatoes on rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until soft and slightly charred. These will be served a room temperature.
  3. Preheat gas grill on high for 15 minutes. Skewer onion slices on metal skewer and baste with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Clean grates, turn down to medium and grill onions until soft and slightly charred. Bring in and set aside.
  4. Whisk reserved marinade with honey and microwave until fragrant, about 15-30 seconds. Remove pork from bag and thread tightly on 2-3 metal skewers.
  5. Place pork skewers on grill (it’s already heated at medium), cover and grill, turning every 2 minutes and basting pork with honey mixture; until pork in browned and registers 140 degrees. Remove and let rest while you finish the relish.
  6. Chop grilled onions, and combine with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, olives, capers, balsamic vinegar and parsley.
  7. Place roasted peppers, onions and tomatoes on platter, top with pork skewers. Pass relish.

Serves 4-6

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“Looks can be deceiving, it’s eating that’s believing!” –James Thurber

Shepherding In Comfort Food

When I think of comfort food, it’s usually something warm and savory that I can place in a bowl and eat out of hand in my lazy girl.  Mac and cheese fits into this category as do soups, stews and shepherd’s pies.  Traditionally, a shepherd’s pie consists of ground meat under a layer of mashed potatoes.  Mmmm….sounds a little boring doesn’t it?  In an effort to get out of that box, I was inspired by the elements of piccadio which include ground meat (in this case lamb) tomatoes, olives and spices.  My favorite home-made spice mixture called ras el hanout (inspired by North African cuisine),  along with golden raisins to add a sweet element.  Top with mashed sweet potatoes and you have a meal at once, savory, sweet and satisfying.

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NORTH AFRICAN SHEPHERD’S PIE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1  pound grass-fed ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and halved (I use Castelvetrano)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste, plus 1/2 cup water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add ground lamb and break up with the back of a spoon.  Add ras el hanout and brown completely about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste and water and combine, cooking until slightly thickened.  Add olives and golden raisins.  Stir to combine.  Take off heat, let cool slightly, then spoon into a gratin dish or 9×9 casserole dish.  Set aside.
  3. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place sweet potatoes in pot with water to cover and salt.  Bring to a boil, and simmer until tender when pierced with a paring knife (about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Drain potatoes and mash with butter and half and half (adding more half and half if needed, but not enough to make it soupy).  Spread sweet potato mixture over lamb mixture for about a one inch depth (you may or may not have left over sweet potatoes).   Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  5. Let rest for 10 minutes.  Serve.

Serves 4

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“Food is the most primitive form of comfort.”