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How to Eat a Sheep’s Head

What do you do when your food looks back at you? Eat it with chickpeas.

Countries around the world have made sheep’s head a delicacy. In South Africa, they’re called “smileys” because the sheep die smiling. In Iceland, the dish became popular when people couldn’t afford to waste any part of the animal. In Morocco, sheep’s head is served on special occasions including Eid Al Adha, one of the biggest Muslim holidays of the year.

During Eid Al Adha, families butcher their own sheep, but sheep’s head is available at many town markets all year round. This one is in Ouarzazate, a city that’s known as the gateway to the Sahara.

Cooking with sheep has been part of Moroccan culture for thousands of years, since the first people in the country were nomadic shepherds.

To cook a sheep’s head, wash it carefully. Then put it in a pot with chopped onions, garlic, and herbs.

Add olive oil, vegetable oil, and a half gallon of water. Close the pot, and let it cook over medium heat for an hour.

Add softened chickpeas, and let it simmer for another hour. Eat it with your hands and khobz, a round Moroccan flat bread. The cheeks and tongue are the most tender!


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