Sometimes I get hit with wanderlust and then I look at my bank account, remember I’m planning a wedding and get realllllly wistful of foreign lands with exotic food and drinks, and usually there is a fun sound track. Being that a flight to Morocco is about a thousand dollars I decided to bring Morocco to my living room, threw some pillows on the floor, cued up Spotify and decided that I was going to make a Moroccan dinner on a budget, and it sure did not disappoint, the weather could have been warmer, but the dinner could not have been more delicious or cost effective. For this meal I will write exactly how much or as close to how much I spent on each item so you can see just how inexpensive this meal was! It helps to have a stocked pantry with things like Harissa, the new sriracha in case you didn’t get the spicy memo that has been floating around. Harissa is about 6 dollars for a jar but is packed with flavor, think super garlicky, salty, and in this case SPICY! They make many different kinds of harissa but the one I purchased at Whole Foods is a fiery red which should be a good signifier of how spicy this is and why you use only two table spoons for the whole meal!
Rack of baby lamb chops, about 1.5 lbs. ($13.50)
2 tbsp. harissa ($0.30)
2 tbsp. Coconut oil ($0.37)
1 small container full fat Greek yogurt ($1.00)
3 tbsp. mint leaves minced ($0.25)
2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.25)
½ tsp. coriander ($0.10)
1 lemon, zested and juiced ($0.50)
1 zucchini, sliced on a bias ($0.50)
1 tsp. za’atar ($0.20)
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil ($0.12)
½ box Near East Whole Grain Cous Cous ($0.94)
Salt and pepper (you should own these I’m not doing math on 38 granules of salt!)
TOTAL: $18.03/2= $9.01 per person
In a large zip lock bag add the lamb chops and the two table spoons of Harissa, seal the bag and mush the chops around so the harissa coats them evenly. (These can be marinated in advance up to overnight)
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees, place the sliced zucchini on a baking sheet or baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with the za’atar and salt and pepper. Place in the oven and let roast. Flip about 10 minutes in, so both sides roast and caramelize.
In a small mixing bowl add the Greek yogurt, minced mint, minced garlic, lemon zest and juice, coriander salt and pepper and mix. Cover and refrigerate until it’s time to eat.
While this is cooking prepare cous cous as per the box instructions, you can substitute cauliflower rice or quinoa as well.
Heat a non-stick pan heat 2 tbsp. of coconut oil, I use coconut oil for this because it can withstand a much higher heat, and make the pan SCREAMING hot, add the chops in batches so that they do not touch. Cook approximately 3 minutes each side and place on a plate so that they can rest while you finish cooking the rest of the chops. Season them with salt as they come out of the pan.
Serve the chops with extra harissa if you wish, the cous cous, the mint yogurt sauce and the roasted zucchini.
It is traditional in Morocco to serve meats like this with a small bowl of cumin, I did a sprinkle a little bit on the plate before we ate and it was utterly delicious. Normally at a restaurant for a 3 lamb chop dinner per person you are looking at about 25 dollars’ minimum a plate! This beats that by a mile, and certainly beats a plane ticket to Morocco, at least for now!