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We love and are fascinated by the spices, flavours and textures of the Middle East and Africa and this dish captures all of this perfectly. The spices match the freshness  and zing of lemon, the lamb contrasts with the smooth hummus and some crisp flatbreads give crunch and texture.  The freshness of the herbs balance the warming spices to produce a pleasant mix of warm and cool ingredients, still comforting despite the crisp autumn evening.

A meal in itself or a wonderful mezze / starter to share.

Wine Suggestion: We’d drink a white that has texture and freshness but not too crisp or conversely heavy. The Pinot Blancs from Alsace fit the bill perfectly as they have a bit of perfume and hints of spice as well as attractive light stone fruit flavours.

Hummus kawarma with lemon sauce – to serve 6

  • 1 quantity of hummus (see recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in the oven or fried in a small amount of unsalted butter

For the kawarma (lamb)

  • 300g neck fillet of lamb, finely chopped by hand
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried za’atar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For the lemon sauce 

  • 10g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp salt

To make the kawarma, put all the ingredients apart from the butter and oil in a bowl. Mix well, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for half an hour.

Just before cooking the meat, combine all the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a small bowl.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the meat in 2-3 batches and stir-fry for a couple of minutes per batch (the meat should be slightly pink).

Divide the hummus between 6 serving dishes and spoon the warm kawarma over the top. Drizzle over plenty of lemon sauce and garnish with some more parsley and the pine nuts.

Basic Hummus – to serve 6

  • 250g dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 270g light tahini paste
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100ml ice cold water
  • salt

Wash the chickpeas well and put into a large bowl. Cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.

Drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan on a high heat and add the chickpeas and the bicarbonate of soda. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add 1.5 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and skins, for between 20 and 40 minutes or until very tender (you should be able to crush them between your thumb and finger but they should not be mushy).

Drain the chickpeas and put in a food processor. Process to a stiff paste; then, with the machine running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1½ tsp salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and mix for about 5 minutes or until you get a very smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming. Rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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