Lebanese Turkey Meatballs & Cous Cous

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screenshot_2016-10-09-21-52-38-11 09/10/2016

Another brilliant meatball recipe! This time it’s succulent turkey flavoured with rich spices that taste like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen for hours. Really simple to make, this is a real treat and a lovely change from regular spaghetti and meatballs (not that there’s anything wrong with those).

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • 500g lean turkey mince
  • ⅔ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, finely grated
  • ⅓ cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • ⅓ cup parsley, chopped
  • A splash of milk
  • 1 Tbsp. (6 cloves) garlic
  • 2 tsps. each salt, sugar
  • 1 tsp. each allspice, coriander, chilli powder, cinnamon, cumin, fennel seeds

Sauce:

  • 1 Tbps. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsps. (4 cloves) garlic, grated
  • 1 can good quality crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. each black pepper, cinnamon, allspice

Instructions:

Meatballs:

  1. Combine meatball ingredients and mix well with your hands.
  2. Roll into golf ball size meatballs and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Preheat oven grill to medium-high and place rack in the centre.
  4. Grill meatballs 5 minutes.

Sauce:

  1. Start making the sauce by heating oil in a medium cast iron pan on medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a rolling boil.
  5. Add meatballs. Cover and reduce heat to medium/low.
  6. Simmer 15 minutes. Serve with fluffy cous cous.
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Moroccan Lamb Tagine

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Screenshot_2016-04-30-18-04-05-1[1] 02/05/2016

I was bought a traditional clay tagine pot for my birthday last year and have been meaning to use it for ages. I think I used it once as a decorative serving dish for some fruit but apart from that, it has been sat in the corner gathering dust. It wasn’t until a friend came round and pointed out how much she loved tagine that we decided to do a tagine night with a couple of mates. It was a roaring success and the stew was delicious! I will definitely be using it more often.

You don’t need a tagine pot to make a tagine. The funnel lid is a traditional shape that helps the air circulate in a particular way while cooking but you will get very similar results in a casserole dish too.

There is no right and wrong when it comes to tagine recipes either. Just put what you like into it. I’m sure I’ll have North African grandmothers rolling in their graves at that comment as I bet they have sworn by, top secret recipes for the perfect tagine but in my humble opinion, if you like something, stick it in. Feel free to experiment with spices, meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts and herbs. The slow and low cook in the oven will transform whatever you decide on into a luscious, comforting meal.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil and a knob of butter
  • 1kg lamb leg, deboned and diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tsp each of ground cumin, garam masala
  • 1 tsp each of ground coriander, ground cinnamon, turmeric
  • ½ tsp allspice,
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 100g prunes
  • 50g pistachios or almonds, shelled
  • Fresh coriander, mint, parsley
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Cous cous, flatbreads and tzatziki to serve

Method:

  1. Heat a little oil and a knob of butter in a large cast iron pan. When hot, add the lamb in batches and seal on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and gently sweat for 5 minutes without browning.
  2. Add the dry spices and harissa paste to the onions and allow the oil to warm the spices and release their flavours. Return the meat and resting juices to the pan and stir well. Add the tomato puree and cook for a further 5 minutes on a low heat.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes, bring to the boil then add the hot stock. Keep stirring until returned to the boil then place in the pan or a tagine if you have one into the oven for 2 hours or until the lamb is really tender. 5 minutes before serving, stir in the prunes and nuts and chopped herbs and remove from the oven.
  4. Serve with any grain, bread and dip you like. I went for the classic herby lemon cous cous with my infamous garlic flatbreads and tzatziki dip.