This is a classic middle eastern dish, found all around the Levant and beyond. I derived this recipe from ‘Moro’ – but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without a really good mincer. I borrowed one as part of a bid to make white pudding, of which, more later. There are some good YouTube videos out there showing the technique, and many many versions. It is easier than it looks at first sight.
- 250g very lean lamb, minced twice, second time on a fine setting
- 1/2 small onion, grated finely
- 125g fine bulgur wheat
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 150g lean lamb, minced once on a medium setting
- 1 heaped teaspoon of Baharat spice mix (or 50/50 cinnamon and allspice, with a pinch of paprika)
- 3 tbsp pine nuts and flaked almonds
- 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
- Greek yogurt, flavoured with mint, salt and pepper, crushed garlic, and a drizzle of best olive oil
- Start by making the outer layer. Wash the bulgur wheat with water, and set aside
- Mix the minced lamb with grated onion, salt and pepper.
- ‘Kneed’ the bulgur wheat for around five minutes and then mix well into the minced lamb, to make a stiff paste. Set aside in the fridge.
- Next, make the filling. Toast the nuts in hot olive oil. As soon as they start to brown, scoop them out of the oil and set them aside.
- Fry the chopped onion in the olive oil very slowly for around 15 minutes, until caramelised.
- Add the lamb and Baharat spice mix and turn up the heat a little, to start cooking the lamb. Break up the lamb with a spatula as it cooks. Add a spoonful of cold water to slow the cooking a little, and cook until the pan is dry.
- Add the nuts and the chopped herbs, salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
- To make the kibbeh, take a ball of the casing about the size of a golf ball, and hollow it out, making a thin-walled cup of paste, and then fill this with the fried lamb filling, and seal it shut, making something lemon-shaped. Continue this way until all the mixtures are used up.
- Deep-fry the kibbeh in hot olive oil for around five minutes, turning to ensure they are brown all over.
- ALTERNATIVELY put half of the casing at the bottom of an oiled baking dish, add all of the filling and cover with the rest of the casing. Cook for 15 minutes in a hot oven.
Serve with the yoghurt garnish, fresh flat-breads, and a sharp green herb salad. For a more substantial meal, serve with a vegetable pilau.
I tried making white pudding last weekend, what a palaver. I learned a lot. I made a huge amount of mess, and had difficulty finding a recipe. First top tip, use a sausage machine, probably impossible without. I used a fairly basic one that I then saw new on ebay for less than £40.
- 250g white perinephric lamb fat
- 500g fine oatmeal, toasted in the oven
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 4 tsp celery salt
- 2 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 tsp sugar
- White pudding skins (I used Ox runners from Scobies direct)
- Soak the toasted oatmeal in around 750ml of water
- Put the fat through the mincer on a medium setting
- Fry the chopped onion and leek in a little fat on a low heat, until very soft.
- Mix the soaked oats, fat, onions and leek with the salt and pepper, and work to a smooth paste
- Put it through the mincer on the finest setting.
- Soak the casing in cold water to get the salt off, and then load it onto the large nozzle on the machine. I used a tea towel to push it on, as it was slippery as anything.
- Feed the mixture back through the mincer and into the casing, being sure not to over-fill – the mixture should be about as thick as a nice sausage.
- Tie the puddings into loops, and then put into a large pan of boiling water, and simmer for about 3/4 hour.
- Cool the puddings and store them in the fridge or freezer.
We are eating what is in the fridge, to avoid going to the shops, and keeping it simple. We had some cuts of cooked pork in the freezer, and this was a really quick meal to make. The quantities below should serve 4-6 people, depending on their appetites, and the rest of the meal.
- 300g pasta such as penne rigate or pipe rigate, or tubetti
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 450g left-over cooked pork. chopped to 1cm dice
- a small glass of red wine
- 1 tin of tomatoes, preferably San Marzano tomatoes
- chopped flat-leaf parsley
- grated pecorino cheese
- Heat a large pan of salted water ready to cook the pasta
- In a skillet, or large heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil and then fry the chopped onion over a medium heat until it softens, around five minutes
- Add the pork, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the wine and scrape round the bottom of the pan to pick up all of the flavour there.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, and rinse out the tin with a little water, adding this to the pan.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for around 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the pack. When it is done, drain it and add it to the sauce. Add a little pasta water if required, to get the sauce to a consistency that you like.
- Serve in bowls, garnished with parsley. The cheese should be grated and served in a dish on the table for people to serve themselves.
This is an Italian recipe from Elizabeth David’s classic, ‘Italian Food’. It is delicious even if not cooked perfectly. I was very lucky and bought some really good quality hogget from West Gerinish, very tender, very tasty. I also used the mystery herbs – called ‘herbs for meat’ or ‘Italian seasoning’, possibly.
- About 900g to 1kg lamb cut in one piece from the leg.
- A couple of carrots, chopped
- A stick of celery, chopped
- an onion, chopped
- Chopped turnip, about the same volume as the carrot
- Rind of 1 sweet orange
- Juice of half the orange
- 1 tsp coriander seed
- 1 tbsp mystery herbs, or use oregano or marjoram
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 1 can of chopped tomato
- 2 glasses sweet white wine (or one of table wine, one of marsala)
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- A splash of balsamic vinegar
- About 200ml stock (vegetable, chicken or lamb)
- Chop a clove of garlic finely, and rub it into the meat along with a handful of the mystery herbs, salt and pepper.
- Brown the meat in a little oil in a casserole dish, and then set aside.
- In the same pan, fry the chopped onion slowly in the onion, and then add the garlic, and the rest of the chopped vegetables, garlic, coriander and orange rind, and cook until softened.
- Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer then add the meat and white wine, and salt and pepper, and 200ml of stock. The meat should cook on a bed of vegetable stew, slowly roasting in the steam.
- Cover and simmer gently for two hours. This works better in a low oven. Keep an eye on the stew to make sure it doesn’t boil dry.
- At the end of cooking, squeeze the juice of half an orange over the meat and let it settle before serving.
We got hold of some locally raised mutton the other week, and the first thing I made was this, so delicious. I love Persian food, and this recipe is just wonderful, so subtle and warming. It should be served with barberry rice, (zereshk polo), but we had it with plain rice, because I didn’t know at the time.
The recipe is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses. All of the recipes I have tried from this book have been easy to follow, and delicious. She also writes a food blog called The Persian Fusion, which has a good gluten-free section as well.
- 1 large head of cellery
- 100g flat-leaf parsley
- 80g mint leaves
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 500g lamb or mutton, cut into chunks (preferably lamb neck fillet or lean shoulder, but I had a bit of leg)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp plain foulr
- 1/2 tsp salt
- juice of half a lemon
- black pepper
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy casserole dish, and fry the onions over a moderate heat, until they start to brown
- Add the lamb/mutton and the turmeric, and fry until lightly browed on all sides.
- Pour over boiling water, to cover the meat by a couple of centimetres. Bring to the boil, and then lower the heat so that the lamb/mutton can cook for the next hour.
- Next up, prepare the herbs. Remove any tough-looking stems from the mint and parsley, and add any leaves from the celery. Put them in a food processor, or slice finely. This makes quite a mound of chopped herbs.
- While the lamb continues to cook, cut the celery stalks into 2 centimetre pieces. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and add the celery along with 2 tbsp water, and cover. The celery should cook for about half an hour, until almost soft and beginning to brown at the edges.
- Once the meat has been cooking for an hour, add the cooked celery pieces with all their juices.
- In the frying pan, heat another 2 tbsp oil, and add the herbs and flour, stir and cook for 4-5 minutes, making sure that the herbs don’t burn. Add the cooked herbs to the stew.
- Bring the stew back to the boil and cook for another hour (possibly an hour and a half) – the meat should be really tender and the sauce should be thickened.
- Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, cook for a further five minutes.
Serve with rice; I will test out the Zereshk Polo recipe soon.
We are eating the last of the beef we got from Dr Louise, from cattle grazed on Askernish Machair. I made this last week, so easy. It is from #CookforSyria, a recipe book that I bought two years ago. The website link also tells you a little bit more about the creation of CookforSyria, a celebration of Syrian food culture, and a fund-raiser for Unicef.
This dish is meant to be cooked in a single pot, as part of a barbecue, picnic or other al-fresco dining event.
- 500g beef, cubed
- 100g suet, beef fat or other cooking fat
- 2 aubergines, cubed
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 125ml of Arak (or Raki, or Ouzo)
- salt and pepper
- In the pot, cover the beef in cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Any stock that is produced can be used for other dishes.
- Take the beef out of the water, and reserve the stock for another day. In the pan, fry the beef fat for a few minutes then add the chopped vegetables and the beef. Add a few spoonfuls of the stock from earlier.
- Cover and leave to simmer for 25 minutes, and then add the Arak, and simmer for a further five minutes.
- Serve with flat bread and/or rice.
I had no idea that Jhal Faraizi was designed to use up left-overs. In fact, this recipe is almost like stovies, but with more meat, and green Chillies. Madhur Jaffrey’s book Curry Easy gives a short history of the origins of the dish, which originated in Bengal. Some versions have a sauce, but this is more pared back, and quick and easy. I didn’t have any left-over potatoes or beef, so this version includes cooking from scratch.
- 4 medium floury potatoes
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil or other vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 fresh hot green chillies, chopped finely
- around 350g beef (could be left-overs) – diced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- Boil the potatoes whole, and then set aside to cool
- Poach the beef in some water and ginger, for around 20 minutes, then strain and remove the ginger. I kept the liquid back and used it as stock in another recipe.
- When the potatoes are cool, peel them and cut into small dice.
- Put the oil in a large frying pan, and heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle briefly.
- Add the onion, potatoes and chillies, then turn the heat down a bit, and stir, cooking until the onions are translucent, around five minutes.
- Add the meat, a good pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Stir and mix for a minute, and turn the heat down very low. Press the mixture down into the pan and then cook gently for around 15 minutes.
- We had this with poached eggs on top.
This is a Persian recipe, which we made with some locally raised beef. The co-op has some peaches ready for ripening at home, which are ideal for this recipe, which is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large white/yellow onion
- 450g beef, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 firm peaches
- 20g butter
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Tiny pinch of saffron
- chopped pistachio nuts
- Put the saffron in a small cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water, and set aside
- Heat the oil in a large flat casserole dish, and gently fry the onion until it is beginning to brown.
- Add the beef, turn up the heat a little, and fry until browned.
- Add the turmeric, cumin, white pepper, coriander, stir and add the tomato paste. Cook for another two minutes, stirring until the meat is well-coated.
- Add just enough boiling water to cover the meat, and bring back to the boil, then add the cinnamon and salt. Turn the heat down very low, and braise for a couple of hours, until the beef is very tender.
- Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to peel the peaches, halve them to remove the stones, and cut each half- peach into three segments.
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and fry the peach segments over a medium heat, until they are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
- When the beef is tender, add lemon juice to taste, and add a teaspoon of saffron water.
- Arrange the peach segments over the stew, spoon over the sauce, cover and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes
- Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts, and serve with plain rice.
This dish is not always photogenic, but it is delicious, a very simple standard recipe. I jointed an organic chicken to make this, and used Viognier, and bay leaves and garlic from the garden.
- About 1.5kg chicken joints,
- 50-60 ml Olive oil (4 tbsp)
- 2 garlic bulbs, separated into cloves with the skin left on
- a sprig of bay leaves, around 6 leaves
- 200ml white wine
- 100ml water
- salt and pepper
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and leave to stand while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Use a large casserole dish or pan with a lid. Heat the olive oil, and fry the garlic cloves over a medium heat, until they start to brown. Remove them from the oil and set aside.
- Fry the chicken in the olive oil, for around 3 minutes, until browned all over.
- Return the garlic to the pan with the white wine and bay leaves, and agitate the pan to mix the ingredients.
- Simmer for a few minutes, before adding the water, and bring back to a simmer to cook for another four minutes.
- Take out the white breast meat, and set aside: the thigh, leg and wing joints will need another 10 minutes.
- When the thigh meat is cooked, add the breast meat back in, bring back to a simmer and then serve.
We had guests round, and I had some pork chops in the freezer. This was delicious, nothing left at the end. Here are quantities for two.
- 2 pork chops
- 25g butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- around 150ml white wine
- around 150ml double cream
- 1 tsp grain mustard
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Cornichons (optional, around 4 per serving)
- Before cooking, season the chops with salt and pepper and set aside for at least half an hour
- In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil together, and add crushed garlic, and then the chops. Brown the chops on each side and then cook until they are no longer pink inside, taking care not to over-cook them.
- Set the chops on a warm dish and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, pour off any excess fat and oil, and then add the wine to the pan. Bring to the boil and scrape any delicious sediment in the pan so that it dissolves.
- Pour in the cream, bring to a gentle boil for a very short time, stir in the mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- If you are using cornichons, you can add a tbsp of the liquor from the jar to the sauce.
- Pour the sauce over the chops and serve with mashed potatoes.