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Lamb Siniya

This is a bit like a Middle-Eastern shepherd’s pie but lighter and spicier. It’s also very quick and easy to make. Serve with pickled chillies, a tomato salad and some flatbreads if you like (we had pickled chillies alone and it was perfect). We can’t recommend the books by Honey & Co highly enough, everything works.

Wine Suggestion: Another lockdown cellar raid unearthed our last bottle of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 from the famed La Crau vineyard. At a very good point in its develeopment with beautiful, pure red fruits and layers of subtle spicing. Lots of power still but with so much elegance and refinement.

If you don’t have this wine to hand we most successfully match middle eastern dishes containing warm spices with southern Rhône and other Grenache dominant Mediterranean reds.

Lamb siniya – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into florets

FOR THE LAMB:

  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp baharat spice mix
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • 200g tahini paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts

1 tbsp chopped parsley, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Put the cauliflower into a large saucepan, add about a litre of water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until soft. Drain and spread over the base of a shallow casserole dish (about 22cm).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions with half a teaspoon of salt until starting to turn golden. Add the lamb mince, turn the heat up to hight and break it up with a wooden spoon. When the lamb starts to brown, sprinkle over the ground fennel and baharat spice and continue to cook for another few minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook, stirring, for another few minutes, then spread over the cauliflower. You can do up to this stage a day in advance if you like.

Mix all the ingredients together for the topping, except the pine nuts. If the mixture is very thick you can add a tablespoon or two of water to loosen it slightly – it should be like thick yoghurt. Spread the topping over the cauliflower and lamb, then sprinkle the pine nuts over the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until set and slightly golden. Sprinkle with the parsley to serve.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014.)

 

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