Moroccan Lamb Pizza

We used to have a ram named Genghis.

preserved lemon

golden preserved lemon, like jewels in a jar

He was a beautifully built dorper ram, with a nice wide stance, a naturally short tail and a wonderful shedding ability. His mother, Ma Costa, was by far my favourite ewe in the flock at the time. She was smart and gentle, a natural leader: a really beautiful girl. So I pegged Genghis early on as a lamb I would keep for a ram, and always paid him extra attention, feeding him treats from my hands, trying to ensure he was comfortable with me. He was always a bit more flighty than the other lambs, but I thought that with time he’d gain confidence and would grow into a wonderful specimen.

But if you read the blog, you will know just what sort of dodgy character Genghis was, and his ultimate fate.

As a big, mature breeding ram, I found his chops to be a bit strong (although the brewmaster loved them), but the mince was spectacular in my Moroccan lamb pizza; in fact, now I don’t bother making this dish if I don’t have mince from an older animal. We are taking some for butchering this month (although no rams, so the meat will definitely be milder than Genghis was, but still full-flavoured), so if you haven’t tried it, now is your chance! The cooked meat mixture freezes beautifully as well, so I will often just make one for the evening and freeze the rest for later.

Moroccan lamb pizza

(Inspired by Tessa Kiros’s Lachmajou from her splendid cookbook Falling Cloudberries)

Makes about two 30 cm pizzas

  • pizza dough of choice
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500 g lamb mince, preferably from an older animal
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 15 g chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 120 g canned tomatoes, chopped
  • peel of ¼ of a preserved lemon, chopped (so easy to make, please try it if you have access to a few unwaxed lemons!)
  • yogurt-mint sauce
  • small clove garlic
  • ¼ c thick plain yogurt
  • 30 or so mint leaves, minced
  • extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling, perhaps even olive oil steeped with chili

Sauté onion over low heat until translucent. Add lamb, cinnamon and 3/4th of the parsley and sauté until golden and any liquid in the bottom of the pan is gone, but make sure it is not too dry. Take off the heat and stir in tomato.

Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce – pulverise garlic with a pinch of coarse salt in a mortar and pestle to a paste. Stir in yogurt and mint.

Preheat oven as hot as you can get it with a pizza stone or heavy metal pan on the bottom rack. Or better yet, cook it on your barbecue or even better still, in your wood-fired oven!

Roll out dough and place on a piece of baking paper sprinkled with semolina. Spread the meat on the dough and dot with the chopped preserved lemon.

Drop the pizza on the paper directly on the stone or pan. Bake for 10 minutes, keeping watch that it doesn’t get too dark – you want the dough to be a bit puffy.

Slip pizza off paper on to a wire rack, and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Cool for a few minutes and drizzle with yogurt sauce to taste. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

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