3 lbs. lamb shoulder
5 oz. black seedless raisins
5 oz. white seedless raisins
8 oz whole blanched and toasted almonds
2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
1TB of a mixture of the following (known in Morocco as Ras el Hanout)
4 parts mace4 parts nutmeg (I grind mine fresh)1 part allspice2 parts paprika2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. saffron
2 tsp. cinnamon
8 oz. butter
1/2 cup honey
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut meat into pieces about 5 oz. each. Mix the Ras el Hanout with the ginger, saffron and pepper, and 1 cup water. Take half the mixture and in a separate dish, dip the meat into it, putting each piece in an oven-safe cooking pot. Salt to taste, add butter, almonds and onions and cover with water. Put in the oven for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, marinate all raisins in the remaining 1/2 of the spice mixture. One hour before the meat is done, add the honey, raisins and cinnamon.
From this point on, you'll need to watch the mix closely and stir every 10-15 minutes, as when the honey reduces it can stick and burn in the bottom of the pot. I sometimes add a little water if needed, but not enough to make the mix watery.
Remove from the oven when the meat falls apart easily. If it's too watery, reduce it over a hot flame until it becomes syrupy.
Place meat on a platter, top with raisins, almonds and sauce.
I serve it with couscous and dried fruit and a nice butter lettuce and cilantro salad. The salad is really satisfying and tasty this time of year, as it's in season.
I took some leftovers to school with me the other night, and like most stews, it's even better a day or two after cooking!