A couple of big stuffed spleens in Rcif- Fez- Morocco

Moroccan stuffed spleen recipes

[su_spacer]

Stuffed lamb, beef or camel spleen is a big thing in Morocco. It’s a bit of a bumper that I can’t find it halal in the UK for some health and safety restrictions but it’s one of the things I’d like to have every now and then.

Now if you are familiar with Moroccan street food you may have seen little pockets over charcoal, grilling alongside brochettes d’agneau (lamb skewers) or kefta. Think of it as a massive fat boudin/sausage.

 

A couple of big stuffed spleens in Rcif- Fez- Morocco

A couple of big stuffed spleens in Rcif/Fez- Morocco. Credit @Nada Kiffa

Stuffed spleen part of Moroccan street food

The thing is that the version of grilled spleen found in the street food joints, no matter how appealing it smells and looks, it’s usually stuffed with a chermoula mix and fat/suet. The homemade versions are more compact and rich in ingredients.

It’s crazy how much a spleen can take in in term of stuffing. It’s a bit like a sock, the more you fill the more goes in. You will know when it’s seriously overstuffed and about to burst, which is something to avoid.

Stuffed spleen is either chargrilled, or cooked in a saucepan or oven-baked (best option when you have the big ones to handle).

It’s also freezer-friendly and really packs a punch especially if one is suffering from iron deficiency.

My other recipe on tasteofmaroc.com

Christine Benlafquih is an incredible expert in Moroccan food. She’s a reference in the field and I highly suggest you visit her page for more authentic Moroccan recipes of all sorts. She’s also a friend of mine and she has documented a stuffed spleen in the making. My mother has shared one of her old recipes and Christine has captured some nice photos with her camera. Please have a look at the details on how to handle a large spleen which you can adjust to different sizes.

This post is only to suggest some of the stuffing combinations you may encounter in Morocco, depending on the families, the regions..The quantities of ingredients vary depending on the size of the spleen but also on one’s preferences. It’s not a precise recipe.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

1/ Stuffed spleen with rice (the version posted by Christine here)

A version of Moroccan stuffed spleen with rice and offal

A version of Moroccan stuffed spleen with rice and offal. Credit @Nada Kiffa

 

 

  • 1 veal or beef spleen, trimmed of fat
  • 500 g (1 lb. 3 oz.) finely ground beef or lamb (or a mix of the two)
  • 250 g (8 oz.) suet (chehma), finely chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pitted olives
  • 1 or 2 preserved lemons (flesh only, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 head of garlic, pressed
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (or red pepper paste or harissa)
  • 1 generous tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 generous tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste

 

[su_spacer]

2/ Stuffed lamb spleens with suet and chermoula (small spleen pockets)


 

  • lamb spleen
  • onion, finely chopped
  • Chermoula (green version, add chili/cayenne to your liking). This recipe calls for a good dose of it.
  • Diced  fat/suet.
  • Chopped green olives (optional)

This option of stuffed spleen is ideally char grilled. Oven-baked is the second option. It takes less time due to the size.
[su_spacer]

3/ Stuffed spleen with heart, liver and kidney

A version of Moroccan stuffed spleen with rice, offal and eggs

A version of Moroccan stuffed spleen with rice, offal and eggs. Credit @Nada Kiffa

  • Heart of a lamb or calf, diced and sauteed for a couple of minutes
  • Liver of lamb or calf, peeled and membrane discarded, diced in small pieces
  • A kidney or two for a dept of flavour, peeled and membrane discarded, diced.
  • Green olives, chopped
  • Preserved lemon, chopped
  • Fine Chinese rice vermicelli or rice, precooked al dente. This ingredient should represent less than the 1/5 of the whole filling.
  • Chermoula

You can also use a blender to have a compact fine paste and fill the spleen with it.
.[su_spacer]

4/ Stuffed spleen with Moroccan spiced kefta, calf’s liver and rice

 

  • A portion of liver of lamb or calf, peeled and membrane discarded, diced in small pieces
  • Moroccan spiced kefta (minced beef or lamb or mixed with salt, pepper, paprika, coriander, parsley, garlic, cumin). 
  • Precooked rice al dente. This ingredient should represent less than the 1/3 of the whole filling.
  • Green olives, chopped
  • Chermoula
So if you are feeling brave to have a go at any of those fillings, make sure you follow the details on how to cook this wonderful offal to perfection from Christine’s recipe description.
Should you have cooked spleen leftovers, you could fry them with an egg and make my dad’s quick dinner..

Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce

Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce

Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce is always served as a starter to a winter lunch. It can be made with or without tomatoes but a bit of tomato paste is definitely needed.

Add-ons

Because my family comes from Fez, we tend to use khlii and its fat in many things, this dish is one of them. It’s crazy how it just lifts it up. However, for a vegan version, you don’t have to.

I personally add smoked paprika in many “red” dishes and I do it for loubia bida as well.

Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce

Moroccan white beans in tomato sauce. Credit @Nada Kiffa

You may add vegetable stock as my mother does but I prefer to also add some ribs or bones which you can discard just before serving. They add such a depth to this hearty starter. My dad used to add spicy North African meat sausages (merguez is only one variety). However, it’s worth mentioning that as a starter, you can keep the recipe completely vegetarian.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Do not forget a dash of harissa for those who like it garlicky and spicy.[/su_pullquote]

We like to serve the white beans in red sauce with some harissa or fried hot chilli for those who want it a bit spicy.

Loubia el bida is usually served in humble food joints across major Moroccan cities and it’s considered to be a cheap hearty filler..It’s a must try!

In the process of making this dish in different countries, I discovered that some white beans take longer to pre-soak and cook than others. I’d definitely avoid using the beans used for sweet baked beans or the mega flat ones used in Greek/Levantine cooking unless you know your deal..

I use a pressure cooker for this white beans dish and I pre-soak the pulses for 24 hours. You should adjust the cooking time according to the quality of beans used. You could still add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in the pre-soaking stage and another 1/2 teaspoon during the cooking. That’ll save you time if you encounter resistance.

[su_spacer]

Ingredients

Serves 4 to 6
Prep: 10 min- Cooking time: 60 min (pressure cooker)
  • 250 g of dried cannellini white beans/haricots blancs, presoaked for 24 hours in cold water and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of passata or 2 medium tomatoes, grated (no seeds)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons khlii (optional)
  • 3 ribs or bones with marrow (optional), use vegetable stock instead
  • 1 small handful chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp of sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp of cayenne
  • 2 tbsps of tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika (a favourite personal addition)
  • 3 tbsps of good extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Parboil the beans until you see a layer of foam which you should discard. Drain the beans and transfer them to a pressure cooker or a Dutch oven.
Add everything except the oil, tomatoes and khlii. Add about 5 times the quantity of beans in water Cover/seal.

Cook the beans on low heat for 60 minutes more or less, depending on their quality.
Carefully open to check on the beans. They should be almost cooked, al dente. Add the rest of the ingredients and check if there is enough liquid. Stir from time to time. Let simmer until the beans are perfectly cooked and the sauce is reduced.

If you are planning to have beans as a main dish you can add spicy sausage or merguez. Let simmer for 5 min and serve warm with bread or without.

Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. You could thin it with a bit of water before heating it again.


Falafels

[su_spacer]

According to many, Falafels originated in Egyptian where they’re called Ta’amiya. I have tried them for the first time during my first trip to Egypt back in 2001. Well since then they’ve gone popular across the world.

It’s important to mention that Ta’amiya requires the use of split dried fava beans only, which makes its texture different than falafels in a way that its softer. Combining both pulses wisely gives a good texture which happens to be the best of both worlds. Dried fava beans bring softness to the mix while chickpeas bring crunchiness.

While I was told to combine 50% chickpeas -50% dried fava beans in the falafel mix from everyone I know, I followed Anissa Helou’s ratio of 1/3 dried chickpeas to 2/3 fava beans and I believe this offers the best of both worlds I mentioned above as far as the texture is concerned.

As for the garlic, do not be shy to use the amount required. I loved falafels the moment I tried the garlicky ones.

Herbs and spices come to enrich the taste of these wonderful vegetarian/vegan bites full of goodness.

We used to have falafels served in mini wraps as part of an extensive Middle-Eastern buffet back in the days when I worked in upscale hotels, never one left behind. They were a perfect hit during coffee breaks too.

Having lived some of the Golf countries where these bundles of pulses are common due to an important Levantine and Egyptian diaspora, I thought I had enough of them.

Since Imoved to London, I was surprised to find them everywhere, along with Hummus. So I thought I’ll give them a go again for good old days’ sake. Well, supermarket falafels taste horrible, so dothe usual fast-food joints here and there. Since they’re not complicated to make, I just made them.

I followed Anissa Helou’s main recipe for mixed falafel as well as for the usual sauce that goes with them (source: Mediterranean Street food and also Modern Mezze). Besides my friends, she’s my trusted reference in anything Syrian-Lebanese.

If you are interested to read a comparison between famous English cookbook writers in the Middle-Eastern food scene, I recommend the Guardian’s article about it. It’s quite interesting.




[su_spacer]

Ingredients
Serves 4 (4 wraps)
Prep:  10 min -`Frying: 3-4 min by batch

  • 100g dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight with 1 tsp of bi-carb
  • 200g dried split broad beans (the peeled ones), soaked in cold water overnight with 1 tsp of bi-carb
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp of Lebanese seven-spice (or ½ tsp ground black pepper and ¼ tsp each of ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A good pinch of ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • About a cup of fresh coriander, long stems removed, roughly chopped
  • About 1/2 cup of flat-leaf parsley, long stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder or 1/4 tsp bi-carb
  • About a handful of white sesame seeds

For frying

  • Sunflower or vegetable oil, to fry

Serve with Tarator sauce 

  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon (adjust to your liking)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Salt to taste
 

Preparation

  •  Soak the chickpeas and broad beans in plenty of cold water overnight. Drain them from any excess of water. Use a clean towel to dry them completely.
  • Put all the beans into a food processor and process until you get coarse texture (Anissa asks for a smooth texture but I know my processor better but I also decided to follow other suggestions here). Be careful not to overload your processor.

 

  • Add the spices, salt, onions, garlic and herbs and process until you have a paste anywhere between coarse to fine (many Lebanese and Syrian cookbook writers like their paste not that fine, for more crunchiness).
  • I decided to roll the falafel, slightly flatten them and then place them in the fridge for a couple of hours although it’s not necessary for that long but It helps keeping them together.
  • Pour enough oil to cover a batch of falafel in a small saucepan and heat it over a high heat.
  • Bring the heat to medium, roll the falafel in sesame and fry them batch by batch for 3-4 minutes
  • Drain on kitchen paper. Serve with Tarator (tahini sauce), pita or Arabic bread and salad.

Notes

  • I like to roll each falafel in the sauce, lay a bed of lettuce and chopped spring onions in the middle of a tortilla bread, roll then cover with foil, place the wrap between a panini grill and give it 5 minutes. Heaven..
  • I also like to fry falafels and fish them out before they’re completely dark brown. I freeze them and reheat them in hot oven when needed…

 


Moroccan Chermoula fritters

Moroccan Chermoula fritters- Beignets ou galettes de chermoula

[su_spacer]

Moroccan Chermoula fritters

Moroccan Chermoula fritters. Credit @Nada Kiffa

These Moroccan Chermoula fritters are a way to whip up any extra chermoula marinade left in the bowl after we pick up the fish for frying. We usually serve them along with fried fish liver or anything that’s been marinated in loads of chermoula.

A regional recipe

While I realised these fritters are not commonly known in Morocco, they’re not a new thing in Fez where my parents come from.

You can even get them as part of the street food menu in some food joints. They’re always typically served as a starter during lunch time.

Waste not want not

To make the Chermoula fritters, chermoula is generally thinned with water and thickened with plain flour or a mix of white flour and durum flour then the mix is scooped and dropped straight into hot oil.

The fritters come flat and are usually served with a harissa vinaigrette.

Maybe they don’t look very appealing but wait until you try them out…

No recipe

There is no fixed recipe as far as my family is concerned. I just remember anyone making them thickening the chermoula with as much flour as needed, then you work your way through the texture with experiment.

Some add an egg and some baking powder (but then no water added). One of my aunties adds one grated potatoes to the mix. You could add other vegetables or even prawn. I’m loyal to the original version.

I wanted to measure the recipe but I never got around it. Surprisingly, I found it in Street Cafe Morocco written by Anissa Helou.

Although she adds an egg to it but I reckon the taste will be the same.

You can replace the egg with a grated and squeezed medium-size potato for an eggless version. It goes without saying the spiciness can be adjusted to taste. I’ve adapted my written recipe from hers..

It’s always good to eat them in the couple of hours after frying them.

[su_spacer]

Moroccan Chermoula fritters

These Moroccan Chermoula fritters are a way to whip up any extra chermoula marinade left in the bowl after we pick up the fish for frying. We usually serve them along with fried fish liver or anything that's been marinated in loads of chermoula.

  • ⅓ cup chermoula
  • 150 gram flour (ideally, 50 % of it should be durum flour)
  • 1 egg ( or a grated potato (thin with 10 to 15 cl of water if using potato))
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric (for colour)
  • ½ tsp salt (or to taste (chermoula will have salt in it))
  • vetetable oil (for shallow frying)
  1. Mix well all the ingredients and add just enough water to have a double cream or pancake-like batter texture.

  2. heat the oil in a deep frying pan, drop the batter by tablespoonful, leaving space between each fritter.

  3. Fry for 90 s to 2 minutes per side and flip around.Fry until golden brown.

  4. Fish out the fritters and place them over a double layer of kitchen paper to drain excess oil.Serve hot or warm, ideally within a couple of hours after you fried them.

  • The reason this recipe is difficult to measure is due to the texture of chermoula left for it itself. In this case shown in the picture, chermoula is very thin and hence does not need further liquid but rather flour to thicken it. Just use common sense to come up with the pancake-texture mentioned about.

[su_spacer]