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Roasted red pepper and walnut dip – Muhammara – serves 4

A new favourite side-dish/dip, called Muhammara, from Falestin, one of our favourite books of 2020, the year we did nothing but cook! This is such a handy thing, good with pitta breads but also as a delicious side dish. We served it with lamb and rice.

  • 110g walnut halves
  • 6-7 red peppers (1kg)
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or 1 tsp of regular chilli flakes)
  • 35g panko breadcrumbs
  • 1½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 160C fan.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Add the walnuts and roast for about 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside.

Increase the temperature to 220C fan. Put the peppers onto a parchment-lined baking tray and toss with 1 tsp of oil. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until completely soft and charred. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to cool for about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the skin, stems and seeds.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 7 minutes, until softened and browned. Add the garlic, tomato purée and spices and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Remove from the heat and tip into a food processor with the roasted peppers, panko breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp of salt and some black pepper. Blitz for about 30 seconds to get a coarse paste. Add 90g of the walnuts and pulse again briefly, just to break the walnuts down a bit. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Roughly crush the rest of the walnuts with your hands and sprinkle these over with the parsley.

(Original recipe from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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