Monday, 28 December 2015

Moroccan stuffed spleen with different options

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.

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).

One big camel spleen spotted at Talaa' sghira (Fez)

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

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.


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


  • 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

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.



3/ Stuffed spleen with heart, liver and kidney


  • 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.
.

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). see the kefta recipe here
  • 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..




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