Lamb meatballs, chermoula, tzatziki & hummous

by grainnep

I love Moroccon flavours and spices and this was a meal really easy to put together with a few elements but something for everyone. Lamb can be quite fatty so I usually brown my lamb burgers on the pan and finish in the oven draining off occasionally. Couscous, tzatziki ( I know, not Moroccan but good with this anyhow), chermoula, hummus and some flatbreads finished them off beautifully and we even ate it sitting at a low table with some nice candles for atmosphere. Romantic? yes our 3 year old loved it too!.

I think of Chermoula as a type of North African pesto, often more classically associated with fish, I used it here as an accompaniment that gave a lovely background flavour to the meat, but it is really versatile as a marinade for meat or fish, even over roasted veggies.

This meal is packed full with loads of my favourite herbs and I tend to load them into most of my cooking as I love the health benefits of culinary herbs with their unique antioxidant and disease preventing properties. All these elements can be prepared in advance including the lamb up to browning and then just popped into the oven to finish..

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Chermoula
1tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
50g fresh coriander picked – you can used leaves and top stalks
100g flat leaf parsley leaves
50g mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
3 tsps paprika
rind of ½ lemon and orange
300mls olive oil

To make the chermoula, blend everything except the olive oil in a food processor,then add the oil to get a pesto-like consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Tzatziki
8 oz plain yogurt – I like greek.
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything and leave in the fridge with cling, till needed.

Couscous
Authentic couscous is steamed in a Couscoussier but I follow the easier method. I have made it the other way and filed it away under the ‘life is too short category’.
I reconstitute the amount of couscous I need with boiling water (or stock if I have it). Cover the container with a plate and when the couscous has absorbed the liquid, fluff it up with a fork. Your couscous is now ready to add flavour to in the form of lots of olive oil, salt and pepper, loads of chopped herbs (flat leaf parsley, coriander, mint) red onion, diced peppers if you have it and I used slow roasted tomatoes since I had them in the fridge.

Hummus
1 12 oz can of chickpeas
2/3’s liquid from can of chickpeas
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add the liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.  Season according to taste. If you wish, add some more lemon juice depending on your preference.

Lamb Meatballs
I used a Kofta recipe as the basis for this and added some sesame seeds to coat them before browning in a pan and into the oven

Serves 4

1 lb of ground lamb (Good with beef too)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4teaspoon chilli powder
2 tablspoons chopped flat leaf parsley and the same of Coriander
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (optional)
3 tbsp sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients except the sesame seeds together in a large mixing bowl, and leave for an hour or longer if you have it, to allow the flavours to develop.
Shape into meatball or burger shapes.
Roll in sesame seeds
Heat 2 tbsp oil in frying pan and brown the meat balls and transfer into an ovenproof casserole dish.
Cook in oven at 180 until cooked through – about 15 or 20 minutes.

I served these lamb balls in the flatbreads with the hummus and chermoula and the couscous on the side. Enjoy!!