Recs for a Starter and a Side? Serving Moroccan braised lamb shanks & couscous
I'm hosting a dinner party for 6 on Saturday and am in desperate need for a starter to have out when the guests arrive, and a vegetable side dish during dinner.
As a main course I'm serving braised Moroccan lamb shanks w/a toasted pine nut couscous. Dessert is a poached pear parfait. Ideally, the starter and vegetable side would be something I could make the day before and finish quickly before serving.
We just had a Moroccan dinner party and I made hummus using garbanzo beans and jarred red peppers, and put out kalamata olives, almonds, pistachios and dates, along with some tzatziki. Nice intro to a spicy feast. All was easily made the evening before.
A common starter that is one of my favorite Moroccan dishes is called b'stilla (search chowhound for my recipe, but I would cut it in half for your party) It is a chicken and egg filled pastry with sugar, cinnamon, and almonds that is to die for! It's a lot of work, but worth it.
Or you could do pastry "cigars" called briouat filled with either ground beef, chicken, shrimp, cheese (whatever you prefer) as a finger food type appetizer. I've also made b'stilla into small two-bite size pies as well. :)
Or if you are looking for something easier and vegetarian I suggest doing a variety of Moroccan salads like carrot salad, beet salad, zaalouk (tomato and pepper salad), and others.
Starter: caramelize thin sliced sweet onions for at least an hour with toasted cumin, orange juice, honey, brown sugar, touch of cayenne, touch of smokey paprika. separately, mix good quality olive-oil packed tuna with chopped green/pimento olives, lemon zest, lemon juice, fresh ground black pepper, and chopped fennel fronds. then get won ton wrappers, spray a foiled cookie sheet with Pam, lay out wrappers in rows, spray tops, bake at 325 for about 5-7 minutes - WATCH THEM - they burn quickly - until golden brown. when cool, top with warm (not hot) onion marmalade and then mound tuna on top. garnish with fennel tops. people LOVE this!
I don't have suggestions, but would you mind sharing the recipe for the Moroccan braised lamb shanks? ::puppydog face::