Yotam Ottolenghi’s merguez kebabs

This recipe was in yesterday’s Guardian. I reproduce it here because I decided to give it a try and Continue reading


Merguez-spiced meatballs with couscous

These meatballs were made from leftover sausagement from the Yotam Ottolenghi sausage rolls I made previously.

I fried them in olive oil while I made a simple spicy vegetable stew with aubergines, courgettes, celery, peppers, white cabbage and onions, all cut into roughly the same-sized pieces and cooked in olive oil and flavoured with a spice mix of ground ginger, ground cumin, paprika, saffron and pimenton piccante, which was simmered with some water with the meatballs on top until the vegetables were cooked.

This was served with couscous and some chilli sauce to make a tasty evening meal.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s merguez sausage rolls

I cannot claim any credit for these at all, because the recipe was taken from last Saturday’s Guardian Weekend magazine.

The recipe is by Yotam Ottolenghi, and I can tell you one thing about these sausage rolls – they are utterly delicious.

I reproduce his recipe without any amendments;

    Merguez sausage rolls

I have yet to meet a carnivore who doesn’t love a sausage roll. This version adds a spicy, aromatic edge but is essentially the same old trick. If you can’t get lamb fat, substitute 100g of the beef for some non-lean lamb mince. To simplify the dish, use a few spoonfuls of harissa instead of the spices, chilli and preserved lemon. Makes eight rolls.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
100g lamb fat, roughly chopped
2 tsp sweet paprika
¾ tsp sweet smoky paprika
¾ tsp cayenne
2½ tsp whole aniseeds (or 1½ tsp fennel seeds), toasted and lightly crushed
2 tsp whole cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
2½ preserved lemons, flesh discarded, skin finely chopped (25g net weight)
½ tsp caster sugar
2 tsp crushed ancho chillies (or chipotle if ancho are unavailable)
320g minced beef
375g all-butter puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and sauté for six to eight minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the lamb fat in the small bowl of a food processor with all the spices, preserved lemon, sugar, chillies and half a teaspoon of salt. Work together to a paste, add the minced beef and the onion mix, then pulse once or twice more, just to bring the mixture together.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly-floured surface to form a 35cm x 25cm rectangle that’s 0.5cm thick. Cut this in two, lengthways, and use your hands to arrange half the meat mix in a long sausage along the long side of each rectangle. Roll the pastry up and over the sausage, so it encloses it snugly – you don’t want it to be at all loose – and stop rolling 2cm before the end of the roll. Egg wash this exposed border, then finish rolling and seal it up. Repeat with the other half of the pastry and meat mixture. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Cut each long roll widthways into quarters. Use a small knife to make light diagonal incisions on top of each roll and then egg wash. Place on a wire rack, with a foil-lined baking tray below (the tray is for catching the fat released during cooking, and the rack will ensure that the pastry does not get soggy) and bake for 20 minutes, until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before eating.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s meatballs with celeriac

I claim no credit for this, it was in today’s Guardian magazine, here.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes always look interesting and I am always meaning to cook one of them. This week, I didn’t have any ideas for Saturday night dinner and these looked to be exactly the thing.

Here is the recipe in full. I followed it to the letter;

    Beef meatballs with lemon and celeriac

400g minced beef
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
120g breadcrumbs
20g chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus 1 tbsp extra, to garnish
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp ground allspice
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small celeriac, cut into 5cm x 1.5cm batons
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ tsp each ground turmeric, cumin and cinnamon
1½ tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
¾ tsp smoked paprika
500ml chicken stock
3½ tbsp lemon juice
60g Greek yoghurt

In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the beef, onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, allspice, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Form into 5cm x 3cm kebab-like shapes.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan for which you have a lid, and sear the meatballs all over for about five minutes in total. Remove them and add celeriac, garlic and remaining spices to the pan. Cook on high heat, stirring, for two minutes, return the meatballs to the pan and add the stock, lemon juice, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and leave to bubble away for 10 minutes more, until the sauce is quite thick.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to settle. Taste, season as necessary and serve topped with a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkling of parsley.

Yotam suggests serving them with either plain rice or bulghur, we fancied couscous.