Roasted Chicken, Lamb Stew, Merguez Sausage.

For 8-10 portions


Lamb Stew

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

6 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons Ras al Hanout

2 tablespoons Zaatar

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 head fennel, chopped

1 quart low sodium chicken stock or broth

2 onions, one chopped and the other cut into 1/4-inch dice

6 cloves garlic, three whole and the rest minced

8 plum tomatoes, divided

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 small eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 cup cooked chickpeas

2 sprigs oregano, leaves only, chopped

2 sprigs thyme, leaves only, chopped

5 leaves basil, chopped

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300F. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper, and add to the pot in a single layer (you may need to do this in batches). Brown the meat on all sides, and then sprinkle the Ras al Hanout and Zaatar over top. Continue to cook, stirring, until the spices are toasted and fragrant. Remove the lamb from the pot and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium and add celery, fennel, roughly chopped onion, and three whole cloves of garlic. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender. Roughly chop three of the plum tomatoes and add to the pot with the reserved lamb and chicken stock. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Braise the lamb for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until very tender.

Meanwhile, seed the remaining tomatoes and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/4-inch diced onion and minced garlic and cook, stirring until translucent. Add the diced tomato with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring for about 4 minutes. Remove tomato mixture from the skillet and reserve. Wipe the skillet clean, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and place on medium high heat. Add the eggplant and zucchini with a sprinkling of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown; reserve.

Pick out and reserve the cooked lamb meat from the braise; and then strain the liquid through a fine meshed sieve. Reduce the liquid in a large pot or Dutch oven by half. Return the braised lamb to the liquid along with the tomato mixture, cooked eggplant and zucchini and chickpeas. Add the oregano, thyme and basil, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary and keep warm.

Roasted Chicken and Merguez

4 chicken legs; legs and thighs separated

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 sprigs thyme

3 pounds merguez sausage

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Season the chicken legs and thighs on all sides with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on one prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Pick the leaves from the thyme and sprinkle over the chicken. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until almost done. Place the mergeuz on the other prepared baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Continue to roast the chicken and merguez until chicken is golden brown and cooked through (165F internally) and merguez is roasted and cooked through; keep warm.

Couscous

1 box instant couscous

1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked in water overnight and strained

1/2 cup black raisins, soaked in water overnight and strained

6 leaves fresh basil, sliced thin

4 leaves fresh mint, sliced thin

Salt and pepper

Prepare couscous according to instructions on package. While still warm, toss with gold and black raisins, basil, mint, and salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve:

3 sprigs basil

Arrange couscous on of a large platter or on individual plates. Spoon lamb stew over top. Arrange roasted chicken and merguez on top and garnish with basil leaves.