While I love huge festive platters of lamb, today’s how to cook lamb recipe is a small meal for smaller gathering. It’s still festive, delicious and infused with Moroccan spice. Lamb meat is super versatile and here’s a lamb recipe to prove that!
Cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce, this Holiday dinner is perfect if you’re cooking for just two people (half the recipe), yet easily made for 12 people by tripling the recipe!
I’m honored to share another delicious recipe in partnership with my friends at the American Lamb Board. Your go to source for everything Lamb!
If you’ve been guessing what we’re having this Holiday, you’re not mistaken because we’re having lamb. Nothing screams special more than lamb.
Without a doubt, my favorite lamb is American lamb. It’s raised to the industry’s highest standards and it’s raised with so much LOVE!
So many families put their hearts out on their land daily to grow their sheep with sustainability. Because of this, you’ll find fresh American lamb available all year long. Supporting them is the least we can do.
Plus I can’t tell you how many people have steered away from lamb, until I urged them to try American lamb. YES, it tastes different! Because it’s fresh, pasture grazed and grain finished. This is why it tastes sweet and buttery!
HOW TO COOK LAMB
The most common question ever! So now you got your nice cut of American lamb, how do you cook it?
There’s a huge collection of lamb recipes on my blog ranging from easy and quick, fancy, or authentic and old family recipes. You’ll also find everyday favorite dishes made by swapping lamb meat for beef.
Start with some of those:
EASY LAMB RECIPES
For today’s recipe, there are three components. The lamb meat, the Moroccan spice, the Sweet and Spicy Sauce.
I chose cut up chunks of lamb shoulder today because I’m making a small family Holiday meal. You could easily triple this recipe and serve 12 if you wanted to.
American lamb is super tender, and mildly flavored compared to other types, so you don;t want to over power that flavor. I love a simple Moroccan spice blend.
Moroccan Spice Blend
This is an authentic recipe from an old Moroccan French neighbour I had 10 years ago. She was a fabulous cook!
Ingredients for Moroccan spice
- Salt and Pepper
- Sweet Paprika
So now we’ve got our lamb spiced up and ready to sear. I love searing my lamb chunks until they have a nice crust before roasting. This tip concentrated the flavor of the dish so much!
At that point, you’re probably thinking how to make a sauce?
Sweet and Spicy Sauce
While so many of us associate sweet and spicy sauce with Asian food, the truth is, Mediterranean countries also love a good sweet and spicy combo.
It is however completely different from the Asian version.
Ingredients for Sweet and Spicy Sauce
- Sweet Figs (fresh or dried)
- Sweet Fig Balsamic Vinegar
- Hot red Chillies
- bay leaf
- Water or wine or stock.
How to make Sweet and Spicy Sauce
Once the lamb has seared to the level you prefer, start by layering the sauce flavors.
Start by adding the onions.
Garlic goes next.
One bay leaf for this amount of lamb which is good for four servings.
One cardamom pod.
Spicy red chillies as much or as little as you can handle! Just add them in fresh and whole as they are.
Figs and the sweet balsamic vinegar go next.
Finally the water goes in. Bring this to a boil and then cover your pan and in the oven it goes. Cook the lamb in the oven for about one hour for a fall off the bone tender meat.
How to Serve Lamb
Since we’re going with a Moroccan spice blend, I’m serving the lamb over a plate of herbed couscous.
I love parboiled couscous that is sold widely now at all grocery stores because I just add boiling water to it and it’s done! There’s a recipe for easy herbed Moroccan couscous here — .
The lamb sits super well over the couscous with extra sauce drizzled over the lamb. Best way to finish off this bright dish is by adding fresh mint, fresh figs and some extra chillies!
A simple recipe like this is enough to make any meal feel special no matter how many people are gathering. It’s absolute comfort.
Now can we talk about some fun common questions I read , hear and see everywhere!
Is a lamb a sheep?
Yes, a lamb refers to a small sheep. Usually up till a year or so the sheep meat is referred to as lamb and it’s absolutely tender and delicious!
Is lamb nutritious?
YES! Lamb meat is full of quality protein, vitamins and minerals.
Most of the fat on lamb cuts is external, so you or your butcher can trim what you want.
On average, a 3 ounce serving of American Lamb is lean and has only 160 calories. Lean cuts of American lamb include the leg, loin, and shoulder (used in this recipe).
What does lamb taste like?
Oh I can have a whole post on that! To me, it tastes SO GOOD. In all seriousness, lamb tastes different from cut to cut and from cooking method to the other.
I prefer American Lamb’s milder flavor over imported lamb which is as a result of superior breeding and feeding programs
Lamb feels like beef and can easily be swapped for beef recipes, however it has a distinct taste which is sometimes thought of like gamey—but it’s not exactly that. It’s more earthy to me.
How strong or not your lamb tastes like will all boil down to the lamb’s diet.
OVEN LAMB TIPS
- Have your butcher cut off your lamb chunks into equal sizes. Choose your favorite cut for this recipe.
- Make the Moroccan spice blend ahead of time and store it in your spice cabinet for other recipes too!
- For the Sweet and Spicy Sauce: use fresh or dried fruits. Figs are usually the first choice of fruit, however apricots and prunes are also popular.
- As for the spice, make it as mild or spicy as you can handle. Also select the time of pepper that is relevant to your tastebud.
- Searing the lamb before cooking in the oven produces a crust which offers a contrast in texture and intensifies the flavors.
- Roast the lamb to your desired doneness.
- Serve this Lamb recipe with Moroccan couscous, pasta, rice, bread, mashed potatoes or a simple salad.
- Store leftover lamb in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheat in the oven for 10 minutes with a tablespoon of water.
So many fun things happening on Instagram and Fecbook this season! Follow The American Lamb feed and check out their #TheLambChallenge – Holiday Edition campaign!
Simply follow and comment on the giveaway posts with a lamb recipe you’ll enjoy for the holidays and be entered to win great prizes!
You can also read more about the Giveaway HERE.
How to Cook Lamb With Moroccan Spice
- 3 - 4 pounds of American Lamb shoulder cut into 4 equal chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Moroccan Spice (use half this amount only)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
Sweet and Spicy Sauce
- 1 onion diced large Spanish onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cardamom pod
- 2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar any balsamic vinegar works too
- 1 cup figs fresh and cut in half or 1/2 cup dried figs diced
- 4 red chillies who or use less or swap for any type of spicy pepper
- 1 1/2 cup water stock or wine
- 3 cups cooked Moroccan herbed couscous
- Fresh mint
- Extra red chillies
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare the spice blend my mixing all ingredients together in a deep plate or jar.
Trim off excess fat from the lamb and make sure the meat is dry.
Flavor the lamb with half the spice mixture and toss them well.
Heat a heavy cast iron skillet over medium high heat and sear the lamb for 3 minutes per side until a golden crust is formed.
Now lower the heat to medium and start adding the ingredients for the sauce in order.
Make sure to toss the ingredients well and let the cook just until the mixture begins to simmer.
At that point, cover the pan with foil and continue roasting it in the oven for 1 hour. Roast the lamb for more or less time depending on how tender you prefer it to be.
Remove from the oven and serve the lamb on a bed of couscous, drizzled with extra sauce form the pan.
OVEN LAMB TIPS
Have your butcher cut off your lamb chunks into equal sizes. Choose your favorite cut for this recipe.
Make the Moroccan spice blend ahead of time and store it in your spice cabinet for other recipes too!
For the Sweet and Spicy Sauce: use fresh or dried fruits. Figs are usually the first choice of fruit, however apricots and prunes are also popular.
As for the spice, make it as mild or spicy as you can handle. Also select the time of pepper that is relevant to your tastebud.
Searing the lamb before cooking in the oven produces a crust which offers a contrast in texture and intensifies the flavors.
Roast the lamb to your desired doneness.
Serve this Lamb recipe with Moroccan couscous, pasta, rice, bread, mashed potatoes or a simple salad.
Store leftover lamb in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheat in the oven for 10 minutes with a tablespoon of water.