Coffee-braised Lamb Belly, Almond & Cardamom Dukkah, Roasted Dates

IngredientsLamb, Fruit
Day PartDinner
Menu PartEntree
Cuisine TypeMediterranean
Coffee-braised Lamb Belly

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board

Mediterranean food is seeing a surge in popularity because of its healthy halo and fresh ingredients, both appealing attributes to today’s consumers. Chef Scelfo looks to Egypt—a country a little off the Mediterranean path—as inspiration for this lamb recipe. For a finishing touch, he sprinkles the dish with dukkah, a traditional Egyptian condiment that combines coarsely ground nuts, seeds and spices.


2 tbsp. ground fennel seed
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
5 lb. boneless lamb breast/belly
2 apples, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
6 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
3 cups brewed coffee, chilled
2 cups sherry
4 cups chicken stock or broth
6 fresh bay leaves
12 large sage leaves
1/2 lb. dried dates, pitted, halved and roasted
Grated orange zest, for garnish
Minced parsley, for garnish

Dukkah Spice Mix
3/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup almonds
2 tbsp. fennel seeds
1/4 cup whole cardamom pods
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns


  1. In small bowl, mix fennel seed with 2 tablespoons oil and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Rub mixture all over lamb. In a large heavy casserole or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil; add lamb and brown well over medium-high heat, about 20 minutes. Transfer lamb to a large plate; wipe out casserole.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Add 1 tablespoon oil into casserole; brown apples, garlic, shallots, carrots and celery. Return lamb to casserole. Add coffee and sherry; reduce by half. Add stock, bay leaves and sage; bring to a boil. Cover with tight-fitting lid; transfer casserole to oven. Braise lamb in oven 3 1/2 to 4 hours, turning meat occasionally, until tender.
  3. Transfer lamb to a large platter; cover with foil. Discard vegetables, sage and bay leaves. Simmer braising liquid about 50 minutes, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups.
  4. Prepare dukkah spice mix: On baking sheet, spread sesame seeds out in a single layer. Roast at 350 F for about 4 minutes, turning once. Remove from oven; set aside. Place almonds on same baking sheet; roast about 3 minutes on each side. Remove almonds; combine with sesame seeds.
  5. In food processor, combine sesame seeds, almonds, fennel seeds, cardamom, salt and peppercorns; process 2 to 4 minutes, until ground.
  6. To serve, slice lamb, transfer to plates or a platter and spoon sauce on top. Sprinkle with dukkah spice mix and a few roasted dates. Garnish with orange zest and minced parsley, if desired.

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