Quick and Delicious Ground Lamb Dish
This easy 20-minute dish is perfect in itself! Or it can be used as a filling for pita bread, in flatbread rollups, or as stuffing for grape leaves! You can also make it with thin slices of lamb. (I slice it ¼” thick by 2-3″ long.)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 1 lb ground lamb
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- ½ cup dried currants (or cranberries)
- 2-4 tsp Baharat Spice Blend
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then add the onion and cook it over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and pine nuts and continue cooking 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the heat to high and add the lamb. Cook until the meat is cooked through.
- Remove from heat, add mint, currants, and Baharat Spice Blend. Stir to combine. Serve.
How to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves
- Soak grape leaves in a large pot filled with boiling water and one tablespoon salt for five minutes. Remove from water and strain. Set aside.
- Prepare a marinade from 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Don’t boil until Step 7. You’ll also need 3 or 4 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds, and 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced.
- Reduce amount of ground lamb to ¼ pound; the pine nuts, mint, and currants to ¼ cup; and the Baharat Spice Blend to ½ teaspoon.
- Add 1½ cups uncooked brown rice in step 3, and only cook the lamb until just browned. (The rice will cook when the grape leaves steam.)
- Place a leaf, shiny side down (vein side up) on a clean working space. Place about one teaspoon of filling in the center of the leaf, fold in the sides of the leaf, and roll from the bottom (stem side) to the top. Make sure to create a very tight roll.
- Line the bottom and lowest sides of a large pot with a layer of sliced tomatoes. Place the prepared leaves tightly on top of the tomatoes in concentric circles, leaving no gaps between them. Repeat until you run out of grape leaves, or the pot is full. Add tomato slices around the edge as you build your stack.
- When you’re finished (or the pot is full), evenly sprinkle the slices of 4 thinly sliced cloves of garlic over the grape leaves, then pour on the marinating sauce. Place a plate on top of the leaves, put on the pot lid, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1½ hours.
Try this is easy, fun, and tasty grilled dish – you’ll be glad you did!
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 onion, grated on a box grater
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 4 tbsp Baharat Spice Blend
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl; thoroughly mix with your hands. (There’s no better way to do it!) Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to make the meat easier to handle – and up to 24 hours in a sealed container or bag.
- Dampen you hands, then divide the meat into 8 pieces. Shape around 8 skewers.
Tip: If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water for half an hour to assure they don’t just burn up on the grill.
- Grill the koftas on the BBQ until nicely browned all over. Remove and rest 10 minutes before serving.
Serve topped with Yoghurt Sauce with a side of green salad. Or, serve in flatbread slathered with Yoghurt Sauce, with some of the salad included as a garnish.
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Thoroughly combine ingredients and refrigerate for several hours, or up to 24 hours, in a sealed container.
This delicious recipe also tastes great made with beef (or any red meat)! I recently served it to a dinner party and got rave reviews. I even had to drag out my homemade spice mix for friends to sniff! One of the great things about Kashmiri Garam Masala is that it’s sweeter than the usual commercially-available garam masala, which my dinner companions found delightful!
(‘Garam Masala’ means ‘spice base,’ and it can be dry or wet, depending on the dish.)
Hint: I have tamed the heat of this recipe considerably! This is a delicious, very pleasant, and slightly sweet meal. Don’t let the next paragraph scare you!
However, if you like hot food – and I mean really hot food – replace the first 3 ingredients with the traditional 4 dried red chili peppers (such as cayenne) and 3 long, green chili peppers (such as Indian Jwala) – and be sure to provide hand towels and handkerchiefs for your guests. (By the way, ‘Jwala’ means ‘volcano’. You’ve been warned!)
Now, for the rest of us —
- 1 large red pepper, diced
- 1 large green pepper, diced
- ⅛ – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper depending on taste (start with a small amount; add more toward the end if it’s not hot enough for you)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1-2 tsp Kashmiri Garam Masala
- 1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup dried unsweetened coconut
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 6 tbl oil (olive, coconut, or pure peanut)
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 pounds lamb meat, cut into 1½-inch cubes
- salt to taste
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- ½ tsp saffron threads
- 20 whole blanched almonds
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Place peppers, cayenne, cumin seeds, Kashmiri Garam Masala, ginger, garlic, grated coconut, and tomatoes in a blender; pulse several times to chop, then blend into a smooth spice paste. Set aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking and stirring until the onion is very tender and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.
- Stir the spice paste into the onion and cook and stir until the oil separates from the mixture, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in lamb pieces, turmeric, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently over medium-high heat, until the lamb pieces brown, about 8 minutes.
- Mix in yogurt, saffron, and blanched almonds until well combined.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the meat is tender and the gravy is thick, about 1 hour.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.
Serve with rice or hearty bread.
Ethiopian Lamb Stew
It takes 3 hours to make this superb slow-cooked, nutritious, and flavor-rich meal, and it is oh so worth it!
Substitute beef and the dish is called Sik Sik Wat. Substitute chicken and it’s called Doro Wat, which is perhaps the most popular dish across North Africa. It is also delicious with pork. This is truly an all-purpose main dish recipe!
- 3 lbs lamb cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 2 T butter
- 2 T extra virgin olive, pure peanut, or coconut oil
- 3 C yellow onions, finely minced/pureed
- 1 T finely minced garlic
- 1 T finely minced ginger
- 1 T butter
- 1/4 cup Berbere Spice Blend
- 2 T butter
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 cup White wine mixed with 1 t honey
- 1 cup Chicken stock (Beef stock is too heavy of flavor for lamb.)
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and pierced all over with a fork 1/4-inch deep
- Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and pour the lemon juice over them. Let them sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes. (Or leave it on the counter while you do Steps 2 – 4, 95 minutes.)
- Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté, covered, over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic, ginger, and 1 T butter. Continue to sauté, covered, another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add Berbere Spice Blend and 2 T butter. Continue to sauté, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chicken, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Adjust seasonings, adding more Berbere according to your preference. Add the hardboiled eggs, simmer on low heat, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Serve with a side of rice.
- Cut each egg in half and use a half egg as a plate garnish.
- Sprinkle chopped fresh cilantro over the dish as a colorful and tasty garnish.
- Sprinkle diced fresh tomato over the dish for a cooling color and taste contrast.