Lamb, Chickpeas, Hummus, Yogurt and Mint

Saturday, 18 January 2014


I love lamb with Middle-Eastern/North African flavours. I bought some za'atar recently which is a blend of sumac, sesame seeds and thyme. I added some to the pitta bread and the lamb but I didn't add enough to either for it to make its presence felt. I think you need to be generous with it and make something like these breads. I was generous with the baharat  though which I love.


To make the lamb I simply fried some onions in butter, added the baharat and the lamb and let it cook until the lamb was browned. Then I added the chickpeas (dried chickpeas which I had soaked, cooked and frozen, tinned are fine too), a handful of sultanas and some flaked almonds and cooked it for a while longer.


I still have mint growing in my garden. I mixed it with cucumber, spring onions and yogurt. Unfortunately the mint may still be green and growing but it is not minty. I wished I'd bought supermarket mint.


For the third day running I found myself making bread for supper. Not very balanced, and all white bread at that, but homemade pittas are well worth making. This was the first time I'd made them and if you are used to bread-making then they couldn't be easier. I used exactly the same ingredients as for my pizza dough here.
After it had risen I divided it into eight lumps and rolled it out thinly into rough circles . I then baked them on a baking tray in a very hot oven -as hot as it goes- 230°c (210°c fan oven) for 5 mins. They puff up spectacularly. I did them in three batches and wrapped them in a cloth to keep them soft and they were fabulous.

We spread them with smoked hummus which we hadn't tried before - we will stick to unsmoked in future*, we spooned the lamb mixture over the hummus and finished with the cucumber and mint yogurt. We ate them with our hands, all except Charlie who resolutely used and knife and fork.  We also tried splitting the pittas and filling them which was much easier than splitting bought pittas.


Variations on a theme

For a vegetarian version leave out the meat and add more chickpeas or vegetables
.
Use pine nuts instead almonds, dried apricots instead of sultanas, beef instead of lamb.

Forget the bread and hummus and mix the lamb mixture with cooked rice or serve it with couscous.

Instead of a Middle-Eastern flavour try an Indian one. Leave out the hummus and the baharat, make the lamb into a keema curry and crack open the mango chutney. the pittas are soft enough to stand in for naan bread.

*My favourite hummus is Waitrose's Moroccan hummus.

23 comments:

  1. This looks really delicious. Just the sort of thing I love. Thanks for the info on the two spices too which I have not tried before. I shall be looking out for them next time I'm in Waitrose!

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  2. I am really enjoying your ingredient updates!

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  3. That sounds delicious Sue! I love these sorts of combinations of flavours. I can't imagine what smoked hummus is like, but the description isn't doing anything for me! xx

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  4. Sounds delicious. I've been meaning to make pitta bread for a while as mine really like them. If they're as easy as you say I'll give them a go.

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  5. I am ashamed to admit I'd never heard of za'atar or baharat............................. the pitta breads look great, would they keep soft enough to use in packed lunches do you think?

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    1. I haven't tried yet but I think so.

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  6. Anonymous11:03 am GMT

    Now, while it is still spring in the netherlands, waiting for winter to come, hah, the small daisies start to bloom in the parks, grass is flowering, hazeltrees too ( I am not allergic, but reacting to pollen of trees, so a real drop appears at my nose outsidedoors, yuck and my eyes are itching, sneezing with hurricane force), I see sweet williams, blue harebells and primroses in bloom allthis month, I looked at my homemade syrups and saw I was mucht too eager to make elderflower syrup, there are many bottles left. Now, I love it, but there is also blackcurrant syrup and elderberry syrup, so I have to think new ways to get through the elderberry flowerssyrup before they are in bloon again. Then I got a flashback to 70's longdrinks. Fizzy drinks with a shot of alcoholic fruity delightfulness. I do not love fizzy, spritzy drinks. But the idea is good, only reverse it. Take a 1/7 measure of fruity sirup, a small shot of some neutral tasting alcoholic drink and 6/7 clear or frizzy water.I want to have it in stead of wine or cider in the evening, I will drink it as a cordial in daytime. I am sure I will be varying the water and alcohol measures and those longdrinkglasses will finally be used again. Reina

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    1. What a good idea. I will remember it when I make my elderflower cordial this year.

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  7. Am really loving your recent posts with quick and easy recipes, Sue. I don't usually use Baharat but Raz el Hanout instead but I may try baharat next time for a change. Sometimes for my Middle Eastern recipes/tagines I add dried apricots as they go very well with the flavours too.
    Do you remember those lovely lamb chipolatas you recommended ages ago from Waitrose? They were so delicious.... Unfortunately, my local waitrose used to have them but last summer they stopped having them, which is a pity. I sometimes use their lamb meatballs instead to make these minty/Middle Eastern dishes as their meatballs are minty too.
    By the way, I cooked your Chilli chocolate biscuits yesterday and they all loved them!!
    Thanks again,
    Pati x

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    1. I haven't been able to find those lamb sausages for ages either. Most disappointing because they were lovely weren't they? I keep looking but they seem to have disappeared.
      Glad you liked the biscuits.

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  8. Love lamb - though I'm amazed they can sell so much the price they charge for it! And it's not as though the farmers get top dollar for it either. Ok. We have it as often as we can afford, beautiful taste. And I enjoy cooking it Middle Eastern style and like you adore the Baharat and Za'atar. Mostly we have rice with ours but when I remember we do enjoy a flat bread. Keep on with recipes, lovin' them. (Did someone mention a cookery book last post??)

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  9. Sue, thank you so much for giving me some more new recipe ideas. I have added Baharat and Za'atar to my shopping list. I will report back to you when I do get around to actually doing my versions of your delicious dishes.

    xo

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  10. My husband would also eat them with a knife and fork:-). They sound delicious.

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  11. Another lovely meal idea!

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  12. That is definitely going on my to cook list. Yum.

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  13. Looks so delicious !!! If I may share - I have just found out that the magic white garlic sauce often served with kebabs and shawarmas (mayonnaise like in colour and texture but far from mayo in flavour) is called toum, and so easy to make. (A labourious blog post and recipe may be found here: http://www.mamaslebanesekitchen.com/dips/lebanese-garlic-dip/) It's pretty unhealthy though - a dab will do you! I bet it would also taste beautiful with your Middle Eastern themed meals. Love DZ

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  14. You are so cosmopolitan.

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  15. Chances of finding za'atar and baharat on the shelves of my local co-op are slim. I asked an assistant there for an aubergine once and he looked at me as if I was doing a survey on favourite sexual positions. Definitely NOT a cosmopolitan store.

    Can I come to tea at yours?

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  16. Love the look of this - adding it to our meal plan for next week I think. Will have to hunt for the baharat though - any tips for sourcing it in Worcester? x

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    1. Helen I bought my last lot of Bart's baharat at Waitrose in Droitwich and I've seen it at Tesco too.

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    2. Fab, thank you - will try waitrose next time I'm in Droitwich.

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  17. Thanks, Sue - I tried this tonight. Very quick and very tasty. I didn't have any Za'atar, so I improvised with sumac, thyme and olive oil and slopped some on before putting the bread in the oven.

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