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Moroccan Chili and 10,000 Grains of Sand


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 2 pounds ground lamb

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (a couple of palmfuls)

  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin (half a palmful)

  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika (half a palmful)

  • 1 tablespoon coriander (a palmful)

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (eyeball it) in your palm

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • The zest of 1 lemon

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)

  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)

  • 4 pita breads

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock

  • A handful of golden raisins, chopped

  • 4-5 dried apricots, chopped

  • 1 1/2 cup couscous

  • 3-4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

  • A handful of parsley, chopped

  • A handful of mint, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

  • The juice of 1 lemon


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Heat skillet with the EVOO, add meat and brown. Season the meat with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander and cinnamon. Add bay leaf, onion, bell pepper and garlic to the pan. Cook until onion is soft, 8 minutes. Add lemon zest, Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce, then stir and reduce heat to simmer.

Separate the pitas, then pile the thin layers together and cut into quarters. Spread the pita “chips” out on a large baking sheet and toast until evenly golden, 8 minutes.

Bring butter, chicken stock and dried fruit to a boil in a pot with tight-fitting lid. Add couscous, stir, then turn off heat and set lid in place. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add nuts, parsley, mint, chives and lemon juice and toss with a fork.

Ladle chili into shallow bowls and top with a small mound of “sand” and serve with pita wedge chips for scooping up Mo’ chili! Moroccans don’t use silverware, why should you?

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