Sunday, July 7, 2013

Braised Eggs with Lamb, Tahini & Sumac

This is a very satisfying and eye-pleasing meal that can be served family-style for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Ground lamb seasoned with harissa, spices, and a blend of nuts with four braised eggs nestled on top.  Once the eggs are done to your liking it's time to add all the toppings: charred cherry tomatoes, a thick and velvety tahini yogurt sauce, and a sprinkling of cilantro and sumac. If you like things spicy, go ahead and add a little harissa on top too.  Serve this with a little bread, pita bread would be best, and you're all set!

I think my favorite part of making this dish was the harissa, a spicy red chile paste common in North Africa.  It's a spicy blend of red pepper, red chile peppers, onion, garlic, lemon juice and spices that can be used to season so many dishes.  The harissa adds a really flavorful dose of heat to this recipe that is distinctive and so delicious. After tasting the harissa in this recipe I have grown to absolutely love it.  My jar of harissa is front and center in my refrigerator.  I've added the harissa to my standard meatloaf.  I've added it to eggs.  I added it to my spaghetti sauce.  Just this morning I added it to my breakfast burritos.  It's my new favorite condiment!  If you enjoy a very flavorful way to heat up your food then I encourage you to make a batch!

Braised Eggs with Lamb, Tahini & Sumac
Adapted from Jerusalem
by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 pound of ground lamb
2 teaspoons sumac, plus extra to finish
1 teaspoon cumin
scant 1/2 cup toasted pistachios, crushed
7 tablespoons pine nuts
2 teaspoons harissa paste (recipe below)*
1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon peel
1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes or diced tomato
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 large eggs
1/4 cup pickled cilantro leaves or 1 tablespoon Zhoug
salt and pepper

Yogurt Sauce:
  scant 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 - 1/2 tablespoons tahini paste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons of water

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium heavy bottomed frying pan for which you have a tight fitting lid (cast-iron would be great here).  Add the onion and garlic and saute for 6 minutes to soften and color a bit.  Raise the heat to high, add the lamb, and brown well, 5 to 6 minutes.  Season with the sumac, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper and cook for another minute.  Turn off the heat, stir in the nuts, harissa, and preserved lemon and set aside.

While the onion is cooking, heat a separate small cast-iron or other heavy pan over high heat.  Once piping hot, add the cherry tomatoes and char for 4 to 6 minutes, tossing them in the pan occasionally, until slightly blackened on the outside.  Set aside.  (I skipped this step with the tomatoes because I used regular chopped tomato).

Prepare the yogurt sauce by whisking together all the ingredients with a pinch of salt.  It needs to be thick and rich, but you may need to add a splash of water if it is stiff.  (I did have to add another tablespoon of water or so to thin out the sauce).

You can leave the meat, tomatoes, and sauce at this stage for up to an hour.  When you're ready to serve, reheat the meat, add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil.  Make 4 small wells in the mix and break an egg into each well.  Cover the pan and cook the eggs over low heat for 3 minutes.  Place the tomatoes on top, avoiding the yolks, cover again, and cook for 5 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny.  (Be careful not to have the heat up to high or else the yolks will cook through).

Remove from the heat and dot with dollops of the yogurt sauce, sprinkle with sumac, and finish with the cilantro.  Serve at once.

Adapted from Jersusalem
by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
Makes 1 small jar/about 3/4 cup

1 red pepper (I used one roasted red pepper from a jar)
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1-1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped (about 2/3 cup total)
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 hot red chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon salt

Note: I didn't have a fresh red pepper so I used one roasted red pepper from a jar.  I would do this shortcut again just because I don't really care for roasting peppers and peeling the skin away.  I also used a combination of red onion and white onion, equal parts.  I also added a bit more lemon juice to the final product because I felt it needed that extra burst of bright flavor.

If using a fresh red pepper, place the pepper under a very hot broiler, turning occasionally for about 25 minutes, until blackened on the outside and completely soft.  Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to cool.  Peel the pepper and discard its skin and seeds.

Place a dry frying pan over low heat and lightly toast the coriander, cumin, and caraway seeds for 2 minutes.  Remove them to a mortar and use a pestle to grind to a powder.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and fry the onion, garlic, and chiles for 10 to 12 minutes, until a dark smoky color and almost caramelized.

Now use a blender or a food processor to blitz together all of the paste ingredients until smooth, adding a little more oil if needed.  

Store in a sterilized jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or even longer.

Theme: Pain the Town Red!

No comments:

Post a Comment