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Braised Moroccan Lamb Chops

For a complete meal, serve the fragrantly seasoned braised lamb over freshly steamed couscous, mashed potatoes or steamed rice to soak up all the juices.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 4 lb. lamb shoulder chops, each about 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups green olives, well drained, pitted if desired
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh mint

Directions:

Brown the lamb
On a large plate, stir together the flour and the 1 tsp. salt. Coat the lamb chops evenly with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess; reserve the remaining flour mixture.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches if needed, add the lamb chops and cook, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a slow cooker.

Make the sauce
Pour off all but about 1 Tbs. of the fat from the fry pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the cumin, paprika and reserved flour mixture and sauté briefly, just until fragrant. Pour in the broth and lemon juice. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Pour the contents of the pan over the lamb.

Braise the lamb
Cover and cook until the lamb is very tender, 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low according to the manufacturer's instructions. About 1 hour before the lamb is ready, add the olives.

When the lamb is ready, transfer it to a platter and cover with aluminum foil. Skim off any excess fat from the surface of the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and stir in the mint. Leave the chops on the platter or transfer to individual plates. Spoon the sauce with the olives and mint over the lamb and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Slow Cooker, by Norman Kolpas (Oxmoor House, 2007).