Servings: Serves 4
Ingredients 2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder , cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces1/2 teaspoon sea salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper2 tablespoons olive oil1 teaspoon ground cumin1 teaspoon ground coriander1 teaspoon turmeric1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika1 medium onion , finely chopped2 cloves garlic , minced1/2 pound cracked or whole green olives , pitted1/4 cup Middle Eastern-style preserved lemon (about 1 lemon)Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves3 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.