Food & Drink

Spices jump to life in Moroccan lamb dish

Dinner in minutes: Moroccan lamb with couscous.
Dinner in minutes: Moroccan lamb with couscous. Tribune News Service

Lamb mixed with cinnamon, cumin and turmeric makes a savory Moroccan dish.

Turmeric adds color and an earthy flavor to this dish. It’s the orange-yellow spice you may know from curry dishes and is a new health-food darling. At this summer’s Fancy Food Show in New York, I found the warming, slightly bitter spice infused in everything from teas and oils to crackers and chips.

Flavorful spices are the secret to this lamb dish. If yours are more than six months old, it’s time for new ones. They lose their color and flavor after that.

Spices should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight or heat.

Helpful Hints

▪  A quick way to chop cilantro is to snip the leaves from the stems with scissors.

▪  Minced garlic can be found in the produce section of the market.


▪  Prepare lamb, onion, tomato and spices.

▪  Make couscous and set aside.

▪  Make lamb dish.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: A rich, dark red syrah would go well with lamb.

Evan Benn’s beer suggestion: An earthy, roasty black lager would be an excellent pairing.

Shopping List

To buy: 3/4 pound leg of lamb cut into cubes; 1 can no-salt-added, diced tomatoes; 1 bottle turmeric; 1 bottle ground cinnamon; 1 bottle ground cumin; 1 bag washed, ready-to-eat spinach; 1 bunch cilantro and 1 package couscous.

Staples: Olive oil, onion, minced garlic, salt and black peppercorns.



2 teaspoons olive oil

3/4 pound leg of lamb cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes with their juice

4 cups washed, ready-to-eat spinach

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro


Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet to a plate. Add the onion, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, salt and black pepper and diced tomato with juice. Cook 5 minutes, stirring during that time. Return lamb to the skillet along with the spinach. Stir just until the spinach wilts, about 1 minute. Divide between 2 dinner plates and sprinkle chopped cilantro on top. Makes 2 servings.



1 cup water

1/2 cup couscous

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring water to a boil and stir in couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes. Add oil and salt and pepper to taste. Fluff with a fork and cover until needed. Makes 2 servings.