Difficulty: Easy but long cooking time
Algerians love eggs cooked and served as part of a meze. This category of dish is called a frittata in Italy and a tortilla in Spain. In Algeria this preparation is called ma'qūda bi’l-laḥm and is quite flavored because of the copious amount of parsley and onions. As in Spain, it is eaten not only as a lunch dish but as a meze, in which case you will want to cut it into cubes that can be picked up with the fingers. As a more substantial appetizer or as a lunch portion, cut it into eight wedges.
Yield: Makes 8 servings as an appetizer or 12 servings as finger food
Preparation Time: 2 hours
3/4 pound boneless leg of mutton or lamb, trimmed of any fat and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup clarified unsalted butter or unsalted butter, melted
3 medium-size onions, finely chopped
Leaves from 3 bunches fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt to taste
3 1/2 cups water
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Put the lamb, 2 tablespoons butter, one third of the chopped onions, one third of the chopped parsley, 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the salt in a medium-size flame-proof casserole or skillet and cook, stirring, over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates. Continue adding the remaining water, in 1- or 1/2-cup portions, until the lamb is tender and there is just gravy left in the casserole and not much liquid, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and let cool, then chop more finely. Save the gravy.
2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
3. Generously butter an 8- or 9-inch round or square baking casserole, preferably earthenware, with high sides. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the remaining onions, remaining parsley, cooked lamb, black pepper, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and the gravy. Pour this mixture into the casserole and place in the oven until golden on top and a knife or skewer poked into the middle comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the remaining 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter over the cracks that have appeared.
4. Let the frittata cool, unmold, and cut into serving portions.