Sunday 5 May 2013

Beef and chickpea koftes to spice up your supper time

Beef and chickpea koftes with Harissa tomato sauce

These beef and chickpea koftes with Harissa tomato sauce were included in a recent "7 things for 7 days" list as further evidence of my current obsession with Middle Eastern cuisine, following my luscious lunch at Honey & Co. As well as a couple a jokers querying whether Ras-el-Hanout was the bad guy from Batman Begins (that was Ra's al Ghul, FYI), I was surprised that a whole bunch of people asked for the recipe.

Admittedly I've been pretty hopeless at sharing my home-cooking on this blog. During the week I mostly conjure up healthy stir-fries or stews by throwing together the random collection of vegetables and spices sitting in my cupboard at that particular moment - and this style of cooking seems too obvious to require a step-by-step guide. When I have more time to play in my kitchen I'm either replicating dishes from cookery books (where I'm sure you'd prefer listening to Nigella's dulcet tones direct!) or recreating classics like fish pie and spaghetti bolognese. And let's face it, who seriously needs another spag bol recipe?!

But these koftes were a tasty Moorish twist on the traditional meatballs and sauce combo, so I'm happy to spill the beans (well, chickpeas...!) so that you too can experience the spirit of the souk in your own home.

By the way, if my assumptions are totally incorrect and you would actually love to read more recipes for simple healthy suppers on this blog please tweet me to let me know, or comment on my instagram snapshots!

Ras-el-Hanout beef and chickpea koftes

Beef and chickpea koftes (serves 2):

160g cooked chickpeas

250g beef (or lamb) mince

2 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)

1tbsp Ras-el-Hanout spice mix

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tbsp cooking oil (I used rapessed oil)

Seasoning to taste

Harissa tomato sauce (serves 2 - 3):

400g chopped tomatoes

1tsp Harissa paste

1 white onion, diced

Seasoning to taste

Note: I used tinned chickpeas that had already been cooked and simply needed draining of water and rinsing - if using dried chickpeas then you'll need to soak them overnight and boil them before using.

1. Blitz the chickpeas in a food processor or hand-blender until they form a crumbly paste (I mashed mine with a fork, but in hindsight they were too chunky to manipulate so smaller crumbs would work more effectively).

2. In a bowl combine together the puréed chickpeas, minced meat, crushed garlic and Ras-el-Hanout, making sure that all of the spices are spread evenly throughout the mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and add a splash of milk to help everything bind together.

3. Mold the mince and chickpea mixture into small oval-shaped balls (you should have enough to make at least four koftes per person).

4. Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan or a shallow casserole dish. Once the oil is hot add the koftes to the pan and fry to seal the edges, turning them over every couple of minutes until they are browned.

5. Remove the koftes from the pan and add the diced onions, frying them gently in the remaining oil until soft and translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and Harissa paste - be careful to only add a small amount of Harissa at first as it is very spicy, so you may want to use less than I've suggested!

6. Bring the spicy tomato sauce to the boil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the koftes back into the pan and coat them in the sauce, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes (preferably longer) until the sauce has thickened. The koftes should be cooked throughout by this point (you can always slice into one to check).

7. Serve your spicy koftes with plenty of rich Harissa sauce and a drizzle of cooling natural yoghurt.

You can also pimp up your meal by adding Middle Eastern side dishes such as couscous mixed with sundried tomatoes and coriander, grilled aubergines slices and a sprinkling of feta cheese!

Beef and chickpea koftes with Harissa tomato sauce


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