I decided to do some proper menu planning this week, mostly because I feel I have been neglecting my beloved Ottolenghi books. His recipes never fail to deliver on taste and creativity and in many ways his recipes helped shape my cooking style (and certainly the contents of my pantry). Whenever I feel a food rut coming on I clear my schedule (his recipes can be quite labour intensive) and get to work. I also find his recipes are great for entertaining because usually you feel more ambitious when having company, and despite the long list of ingredients the food is pretty foolproof and OH SO crowd pleasing.
This week I chose a few meat dishes from Jerusalem and some salads from Plenty More (stay tuned for my versions!).
Once again Ottolenghi did not disappoint and this lamb dish was fantastic: Lamb seasoned with rich and spicy flavours, eggs perfectly runny, creamy and cooling tahini yogurt sauce, and the Zhoug is just a party in your mouth. Lots of layers… and all beautifully married together. I would eat this for brunch or dinner, and I have just enough for our lunches tomorrow.
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 1.5 lbs ground lamb
- 2 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp cumin
- half a cup toasted walnuts (coarsely chopped)
- 1/4 cup toasted (and shelled) pistachios
- 2 tsp harissa paste
- 1 tbs preserved lemon finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 chicken stock
- 5 eggs
- 1/4 cup cilantro for garnish
- 2-3 tbs zhoug (post to follow VERY soon)
Yoghurt Tahini Sauce
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tbs tahini paste
- 2 tbs lemon
- 1 tbsp water
- fresh cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425F
- Heat olive oil in a large pan (one that you have a tight fitting lid for) and when hot add the onions and garlic. Cook on medium heat for about 8 minutes until the onions become aromatic and translucent.
- Chop the nuts and spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Toast for about 8 minutes until they smell and look nice and toasty.
- Meanwhile…. Turn up the heat on your pan and add the lamb. Cook the lamb for about 6 minutes stirring pretty much constantly until it browns nicely.
- Add the sumac, cumin, salt and pepper, and harissa to the lamb and stir constantly (again) for one more minute.
- Remove from heat, add the nuts and preserved lemon and then set aside.
- If everything is running smoothly this should be the perfect time to remove the nuts. THEN Set the oven to broil and insert cherry tomatoes (in a baking dish). Be careful not to have the rack too high or they will burn rather quickly. You want them to be nice and charred but not TOO charred.
- Combine tahini and yogurt sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Add the chicken stock to the lamb and bring to a boil. When the stock is boiling make wells in the lamb mixture and crack the eggs neatly into the wells. Reduce heat to low, put the lid on and cook for three minutes.
- Add the tomatoes (trying to avoid the yolks) and cover again, continuing the cooking process for five more minutes (yolks should still be runny).
- Remove from heat, add dollops of yogurt sauce, sprinkle with some more sumac, cilantro, and add a few hearty spoonfuls of zhoug (I bring the whole jar to the table).
I served the dish with crusty sour dough because I feel runny yolks and fresh sourdough deserve each other.