Slow-Cooker Moroccan Casserole
This meal has the essence of my favourite place in the world – a place I’ve visited twice and would consider living in – the Medina in Marrakesh amongst the excitement of the spice souks.
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) ras el hanout
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) cumin seeds
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) dried oregano
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) coriander seeds
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) olive oil
- 500 grams (1 pound) ground lamb
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2.5 cm (1 inch) piece peeled ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small hot red chili pepper, finely chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 green or red bell peppers, cored and chopped
- One large aubergine (eggplant) chopped
- 227 grams (8 ounces) mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 118 ml (1/2 cup) pitted black olives
- 794 grams (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) tomato paste
- 118 ml (1/2 cup) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 473 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 474 grams (1 pound) uncooked penne pasta
- 71 ml (1/3 cup) freshly grated parmesan cheese, or as needed
- 71 ml (1/3 cup) toasted pine nuts, or as needed
- In a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder, if you wish), combine the ras el hanout, nutmeg, cumin, oregano, and coriander seeds. Crush or process until finely ground.
2. Using a slow cooker with a browning feature, or in a skillet, heat the olive oil until sizzling. Add the ground lamb and stir until lightly browned. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili pepper, and stir for 1 minute. Add the bell peppers, red onion, eggplant, and mushrooms. allow them to brown, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften.
3. If the mixture was cooked in a skillet, transfer to the slow cooker. Stir in the ground spices, cinnamon stick, olives, tomatoes, tomato paste, cilantro, and chicken stock. Cover and cook on low hear for 6 to 8 hours.
4. Toward the end of cooking, add the penne pasta, and 473 ml (2 cups) of water. Cook until the pasta is just tender, 10-15 minutes or as needed (be careful not to overcook). Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.