Thursday, 26 May 2016

Moroccan slow-cooked meat with cumin -L'ham mkoumen

L'ham mkoumen is one of the simplest and tastiest recipes I've recently discovered and it comes straight from the Marrakech culinary repertoire.

Mkoumen means "with cumin" and l'ham refers to meat which as to be falling off the bone with hardly any sauce. It's so simple but it surely is incredibly addictive. My family loved it.

It's somewhere between Tangia (iconic bachlor's dish from Taroundant, Marrakech but also other cities) and M'quila (a fast option to replace khlii). Add a whole preserved lemon in wedges and you have a version of tangia.

I cooked my L'ham mkoumen in a dutch oven. I started it over a cooker for 15 min and placed it for 2 hours in the oven. It was so delicious!

Because the dish is all about meat, it's a standard in Morocco to serve such things with salads on the side to make up for a complete meal.



Lham mkoumen is served almost as a confit of meat, dry with hardly any sauce, hence the little amount of water added to it. It should be slow-cooked in a closed tagine or in a heavy pot that can go to the oven.

In the pictures below, you will see some preserved lemon on top of the meat. That's because I couldn't resist adding half preserved lemon with the pulp, it really tasted like tangia! Succulent!



Ingredients
Serves 4 
Prep: 10 min - cooking: 2 hours

  • 1 Kg of meat on the bone (osso bucco cuts will be perfect or leg of lamb in chuncks)
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • A good pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp of salt (smen being already salted)
  • 1/2 tsp of ground coriander seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp of smen (Moroccan clarified and preserved butter)
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil
  • 200 ml of water

A bit of meat, a bit of garlic, a bit of rice with that tiny bit of thick
reduced sauce. Heaven!

Preparation

Rub the meat with ground cumin, ground coriander and smen. Leave for an 1 hour and preferably overnight.

In a dutch oven or a heavy clay pot, add the other ingredients. Start the cooking on medium heat  over a cooker for 10 minutes. Transfer to the oven for about 2 hours at 200 degrees C for 10 min then bring it down to 170 degrees C for the rest of the cooking. At 90 min, check the tenderness of the meat and the amount of liquid left in the pot.


Serve with steamed rice or hot bread and a salad on the side.


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