Moroccan Inspired Lamb Ribs with Chickpea Salad

Moroccan inspired lamb ribs is the subject of today’s post. It is not uncommon for lamb to be served in a tagine. Chunks of lamb cooked long and slow in a special vessel are a classic Moroccan dish. However, here is a Moroccan inspired treatment of lamb ribs, paired with a chickpea salad on the side.

Here at the mezze & tapas world headquarters, we are planners. The Elegant Baker and I try to have all the routine elements of our lives planned. The goal is to be less stressed dealing with the inevitable curveballs life throws at you. One way we do that is to have a weekly meal plan, prepared before even starting a grocery list.

A challenge with this approach is deciding  on Monday night “what will I want to eat on Saturday?”  Sometimes that is easier to do than others and this past week, it wasn’t easy at all.  My solution was to offer a Mystery Meal night. In other words “I have no idea now, and hope that I will by Saturday”  

I suggested it, so I had to own it. I spent the week thinking about what I could possibly do — and no ideas came. Saturday morning arrived, still no ideas. Then it struck me — I’m starting a new blog.. Why not do something where I can double dip and use my meal as a post. Duh!

With a focus, I honed in on Morocco — one of my favorite cuisines of  the Mediterranean. I love its complexity married to its simplicity. I love that it tastes at once familiar and yet exotic. And like the rest of the Mediterranean, I love that it relies on fresh, whole food ingredients.  

I didn’t have time for a tagine — on of Morocco’s signature dishes. I had to be out for most the day, so I needed something quicker. But I still wanted to reflect the ingredients and flavors of an ‘authentic’ Moroccan dish.

Lamb and Chickpeas

Two of my favorite foods — lamb and chickpeas became the center pieces of my dish. I also relied on two classic Moroccan seasonings to bring it all together. For the Moroccan inspired lamb ribs I first marinate the lamb in chermoula. A cilantro based marinade, chermoula is often used on fish. It is also good with a variety of meats and vegetables. Then season the chickpea salad with Ras El Hanout, a spice blend that is as unique as it is common in Moroccan cuisine. Together, they provide a rich and earthy flavor profile which give this dish the Moroccan flair.

Moroccan Chermoula ingredients

Having all the slicing and chopping done before you begin cooking is he key to making this meal come together quickly

The chermoula took less than ten minutes to prepare (including coating the lamb). Once marinating, I had a least two hours before I began cooking. Right after the lamb went in the fridge, I cut the remaining veggies and set them aside in the fridge as well. Just before we were ready to eat, I popped the lamb in the oven (it was already hot from a project of the Elegant Baker)

Moroccan Inspired Lamb Ribs
chermoula

With the chickpea salad ingredients already prepped, I was able to complete the salad. It came together while the ribs were cooking. Everything would be ready at the same time. Dinner was ready in 15 minutes and took me a world away to Morocco.

Moroccan Inspired Lamb Ribs  with chickpea Ingredients

Moroccan Inspired Lamb Ribs with Chickpea Salad

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Marinade the Lamb2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Moroccan
Keyword: Lamb
Servings: 1 people
Ingredients
  • 4 lamb riblets

Chermoula:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or more to taste (optional)
  • pinch saffron optional

Chickpea Salad

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 large shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 pequillo peppers sliced into ¼“ wide strips
  • 2 14-ounce cans organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp Ras Al Hanout — Moroccan spice blend or to taste (see below)
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro
  • Juice of ½ a lemon optional
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions

Prepare the Chermoula

  • Add all the ingredients to a food processor and run on high for 30 seconds to combine. chermoula should be smooth and the consistency of a thin paste.

Marinade the Lamb

  • Coat the lamb riblets all over with the chermoula, cover and refrigerate for at least two and up to six hours to marinade
  • Preheat the oven to 375o F/190o C
  • Place the lamb on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for approximately 15 minutes (for medium rare, or 135o F/57o C)

Chickpea Salad

  • While the lamb is cooking, prepare chickpea and tomato salad. Start by heating olive oil over a medium high heat in a large sauté pan.
  • Add the garlic and heat until it just starts to turn golden and begins to get fragrant
  • Add the shallots and heat until they have softened just begun to caramelize.
  • Add the piquillo pepper and the cherry tomatoes and heat until the tomatoes softened
  • Add the drained chickpeas and heat to warm through.
  • Remove from the heat, and add the Ras Al Hanout and cilantro and toss fully combine
  • Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and add salt and pepper to taste and give one last gentle toss
  • Serve warm or at room temp

Notes

Ras el hanout is a spice blend that literally translates to “head of the shop” implying the very best of the spices the merchant has to offer. Since every shop and every family has their own version of ras el hanout, there is no ‘definitive’ version or recipe. I have my own blend I have been making for years, combining 18 different spices. There is often a version available in the grocery stores — Whole Foods near me carries it, as does Amazon. Alternatively, you can make your own quick blend with spices that are individually easy to find . I make a large batch and store it in an airtight container to use whenever I want to add a Moroccan hint to my meals.
Ras al Hanout recipe:
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cloves
 
Moroccan Inspired Lamb Ribs
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