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Iraqi Quozi – Steeped In Tradition, Made For Many

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A great way to feed a lot of people something delicious is to make a Quozi.

Iraqi Quozi is a whole stuffed lamb on a bed of bejeweled spiced rice, and traditionally served for significant events from weddings to funerals to holidays. The offering of a lamb in Islam is incredibly symbolic: Abraham on the mountain, proving his faith, nearly sacrificing his son in faith. Sacrifice. Surrender. Sacrifice. Surrender.

This recipe isn’t actually a whole lamb because that really isn’t realistic for most of us on a regular basis. Instead, this is a slow roasted leg of lamb, covered in creamy garlic cloves, surrounded by the subtle flavor and aroma of cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, and cardamom. This almost Quozi is also called a Fukhudh Ghanam Mashwi.

My Mother’s Iraqi Leg of Lamb Quozi Serves 10
Ingredients:
Lamb:

  • ?  About 5 lb leg of lamb, preferably New Zealand
  • ?  2 heads of garlic, peeled
  • ?  A bundle of Rosemary
  • ?  A bundle of Thyme
  • ?  2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • ?  a few whole Cardamom pods
  • ?  Baharat, 7 spice mix (Allspice, Black Pepper, Coriander, Cumin, Cloves, Cinnamon, & 
Nutmeg)
  • ?  Sea Salt
  • ?  Deep, heavy cooking pan
  • ?  Foil 
Rice:
  • ?  3 cups long grain white basmati rice
  • ?  1 cup Vermicelli noodles
  • ?  Baharat, 7 spice mix
  • ?  Turmeric
  • ?  Sea Salt
  • ?  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ?  1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ?  1 cup diced carrots
  • ?  1 cup peas
  • ?  1 cup golden raisins
  • ?  1 cup shaved or slivered almonds
  • ?  5 eggs 
Directions:
The lamb. Do this first because it takes 4 hours to slow cook. This is my mother’s recipe, and it 
is perfect every time, don’t make too many adjustments. 
 Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
2. Wash the lamb.
3. Rub it down with 1 -2 T baharat and 1 T sea salt
4. In a deep, heavy baking pan: arrange half the garlic cloves on the bottom of the pan, along with a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme, a couple cinnamon sticks, and a few whole cardamom pods slightly cracked.
5. Place the lamb on top of this.
6. Proceed to stuff various parts of the lamb with garlic cloves. Top it with garlic. Garlic everywhere.
7. Top it with a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
8. Wrap the whole thing in foil. In fact, double wrap it. Tightly.
9. Place it in the oven, then immediately turn down the temp to 315 degrees F.
10. Set a cooking timer to 4 hours. No more, no less.
11. Let it cool on the stove, uncovered.
12. Find a way to save the fat juices to make into a gravy. 
The rice. Do this while the lamb is cooking. And make sure to do this towards the end of the lamb’s cooking time, maybe the last hour and a half. 
1. Wash and scrub that rice, don’t be lazy!
2. Soak in water for at least 20 minutes. Dump the water at the end.
3. Sautee the Vermicelli noodles with some baharat, turmeric, and salt for a few minutes. I like to add a lot of the spices. (It’s awkward for me to call them Vermicelli noodles, as I can really only call them by their Arabic name, shahariyya, which means hair because the noodles look like hair).
4. Add the rice. Sautee a few more minutes. Then add enough water to cover the rice by only 1 cm! Only one centimeter. My mama will repeat it twice because you are stubborn.
5. Let it sit, uncovered, on medium heat. It will boil enough, and since you soaked the rice for 20 minutes it’s already pretty done. This shouldn’t take too long. When the water is absorbed, fluff it with a fork. My mama will repeat it twice. Fluff it. Don’t forget.
6. Add the peas. Mix in a fluffing sort of way.
7. Sautee onions and carrots in baharat.
8. Then add the onions and carrots to the rice. Mix. Fluff.
  1. Keep on low heat, covered, until you serve.
10. While you’re waiting on the lamb, sauté the golden raisins in olive oil in a frying pan. Careful not to burn it. Keep stirring. This should only take a few minutes. Set aside in bowl.
11. Then sauté the almonds in olive oil. Same. Burns very fast. Then add to the raisins bowl. Mix it when it cools down a bit. This will be the topping to your rice once it’s served.

The eggs. Medium soft boil. Wait until serving time. I know you can boil an egg. Here’s how I do it.
1. Place the eggs in a pan, covered with water.
2. Add baking powder. This helps with the peeling later. Especially if you have fresh eggs, which I am told are more difficult to peel.

  1. Bring to a boil.
4. Once it’s boiling immediately bring heat to low. Let sit for 4 minutes. 5. Immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking.
6. Peel. Don’t slice them until it’s on the serving plate.

The platter.

  1. Put the rice on the platter first. Make it pretty.
2. Top it with the lamb.
3. Pour the lamb gravy and the rest of the garlic over the lamb and rice.
4. Add the sautéed golden raisins and almonds.
5. Then arrange the eggs on the platter. Make it pretty. Then slice them so that the yolk may run a little.

Bil ‘Afya! | Bon Appetit

Find more Iraqi recipes at

www.addalittlelemon.com

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