Mechoui (Moroccan roast lamb)

Roast lamb with spinach and saffron riceIt’s Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, the second-most-important holiday for Muslims. Not being Muslim, I know little about the holiday and have never celebrated it before, but apparently it commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail upon Allah’s command. At the last minute, Allah intervened and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead. Pretty much the same story occurs in the Bible, though the names of the main characters are Abraham, Isaac, and God, and instead of a lamb, God offers up a ram.

Um, yeeeaahhh. Much as I respect people’s religious freedom, to me, either version of the story seems frankly barbaric. However… I do like the idea of roast lamb. So putting aside the squickiness of the idea of the lamb standing in for a son, we “celebrated” with a delicious Moroccan-spiced roast lamb. I served it with a simple saffron rice (I cooked basmati rice with saffron, mustard seeds, and just a little asafoetida and turmeric, then stirred in chopped coriander once the rice was cooked) and a spinach dish similar to sabzi, except that I garnished it with olives.

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