Servings: Serves 4
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder , cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 medium onion , finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/2 pound cracked or whole green olives , pitted
- 1/4 cup Middle Eastern-style preserved lemon (about 1 lemon)
- Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 cups couscous , to serve
One day ahead, trim excess fat from lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed casserole, then add lamb and sprinkle with cumin, coriander, turmeric and paprika. Sauté 5 minutes over moderate heat (meat doesn't need to be browned). Add onion and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add 3 cups water, stir and bring to boil. Cover and simmer 1 hour, or until tender. Let cool and refrigerate overnight.
On the day of serving, preheat oven to 450°. Skim fat from top of stew. Using a slotted spoon, remove lamb chunks and place in a large ovenproof serving dish. Transfer lamb stew liquid to a saucepan and reserve. Bake meat 15 to 20 minutes, or until browned.
Meanwhile, blanch olives 1 minute in enough boiling water to cover them (this removes excess salt). Drain and add olives to stew liquid in saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes, then stir in preserved lemon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add fresh lemon juice, if using. Pour sauce over lamb, sprinkle with cilantro and serve with couscous.