Monday, 26 October 2015

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Lemon Couscous

Now that the weather's turning that little bit chiller, warm and comforting meals are most definitely on the menu. Autumnal foods to me are typically a delicious mixture of ingredients, sautéed or stewed together, which are also seasoned and delicately spiced to perfection. As well as a possible dash of nostalgia. This time of year the term "comfort food" is coined. We look forward to meals that will give our tummies a massive hug; the perfect antidote to a long day of university/work.

Lamb sadly isn't the most popular choice of meat to cook within the UK. Especially amongst students. I personally feel it's because we don't really know what to do with it! However I hope this recipe helps solve our lamb confusion, as it truly is such a tasty choice of meat, and we should aim to cook with it a little more. Red meats are great eaten once a week, as they are a good source of protein, iron and vitamin B12. So why not try substituting lamb for your usual beef or pork in a meal? I believe the secret to cooking the ultimate lamb dish is: seasonings. Lamb needs a little help from either spices or herbs to really transform it into an absolute winner. I personally love harissa paste for an exotic twist, however the classics such as rosemary or mint, also match lamb sensationally. 

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Lemon Couscous

Makes 16 meatballs / Serves 4

500g of Lamb Mince
1 Egg
1 heaped teaspoon of Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon of Salt 
1/4 teaspoon of Pepper
Plain flour, for rolling meatballs in

(Harissa Tomato Sauce)
1 tin of Canned Tomatoes
1 Brown Onion
500ml of Stock
1 tablespoon of Harissa Paste
1 tablespoon of Butter
1 clove of Garlic, crushed
(Optional:1/2 teaspoon of Chilli Powder, if you'd like extra heat) 

300g of Couscous
350ml Boiling Water
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to season
 1/2 Lemon, juiced

Serve: As well as with a dollop of natural yoghurt or sour cream, toasted flaked almonds and dried fruit such as chopped dried apricots or sultanas, if desired. 

1.   Preheat the oven to 220oC.
2.   Mix mince, beaten egg, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl.
3.   Form meatballs, using a tablespoon to help with portioning, and then roll them in flour. 
4.   Place meatballs on a baking tray and cook for 10 minutes.
5.  Next, make the harissa spiced tomato sauce. Chop the onion into fine pieces and fry in a saucepan, along with the butter and garlic for 3 minutes on high-heat, or until onions have turned golden brown.
6.  Turn down heat to medium, and then stir in the harissa paste, as well as the chilli powder. Cook alongside onion mixture for 30 seconds to allow the spices to infuse. 
7.   Add in chopped tomatoes and stock. Simmer on medium-heat for 15 minutes.
8.  Lift the meatballs out of the oven and turn to ensure that they are evenly cooked. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes. (Be careful of hot fat which will have leaked from the meat!)
9.  Take the meatballs back out of the oven once cooked. Place some kitchen roll on a dinner plate and transfer meatballs unto it, using tongs. The kitchen roll will absorb any of the excess fat.
10. Place couscous in a bowl with salt and pepper to season. Cover completely with boiling water. Cover tightly with cling film and allow the couscous to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. 
11. Remove the cling film and fluff the grains with a fork. Squeeze over lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. 
12. Place meatballs in the simmering sauce and cook for another 5 minutes to heat. This will also make sure that all the flavours are well combined, and that the meat absorbs the harissa spices. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
13. Remove from the heat. Serve with any of the following accompaniments suggested above.