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Mrouzia is a traditional Moroccan tagine, or stew, eaten during Eid al-Adha, one of the most important religious Muslim Holidays of the year. It is a sweet and spicy lamb dish which is very tender due to the fact that it is slow-cooked over an extended period of time. The meat which is used in the dish is from a sheep that has been ritually slaughtered as part of the celebrations of Eid al-Adha.
Moroccan cuisine is known for its fragrance and spiciness. Due to its position on the Mediterranean, Morocco's culture and food incorporates a number of different styles - African cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine and Arab cuisine combine into a delicious fusion of Moroccan tastes. Mrouzia is but one example of the hundreds of fragrant traditional Moroccan dishes.
When cooking mrouzia, it is preferable to use a traditional tagine dish, which are earthenware or clay dishes, either glazed or unglazed. They consist of a large, round flat dish and a conical top which fits into the dish. It is designed in such a way that all the condensation formed during the slow cooking process falls back into the dish, which allows for the extremely moist and tender finished product when cooking in a tagine pot. The mrouzia is usually served directly from the tagine dish.
Typically, mrouzia is cooked using lamb, but sometimes goat or cow is used too. The dish consists of the meat combined with onions, garlic, honey, almonds, raisins and a combination of spices, giving it a sweet and spicy flavor. Spices used, which are normally combined into a paste using a mortar and pestle and then rubbed on the lamb before cooking, include cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, cumin and turmeric.
Traditionally the meat is not browned and all the ingredients, except for the raisins and honey are thrown together in the pot and left to cook at low heat for up to 12 hours or more. Some people also keep the almonds out for addition later, while others cook them with the rest of the ingredients. The honey and raisins are usually added at the end. The dish can also be cooked, less authentically, in a casserole dish or pressure cooker.
The Muslim community are known for their charitable practices and Eid al-Adha is no exception. It is tradition to ensure that no impoverished person goes without a meal at this special time in the Muslim calendar. Food, including mrouzia, is shared between everybody within the community.