This recipe speaks so clearly to Middle Eastern culture: bringing family together over a simple but vibrant meal that’s easy to prepare, serve and share. You could plate these beautiful koftes up in individual serves, or do it Jamie Oliver style and let people at it themselves. This is guaranteed to please any party.
//A recipe for lamb koftes with speckled couscous
1 red onion, finely diced
250g lamb mince
½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp Moroccan spice mix, store-bought is perfect
1 handful mint, chopped
1 cucumber, finely diced
100ml Greek yoghurt
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 cube vegetable stock (to make 250ml)
1 cup couscous
4 skewers, I prefer the shorter 15cm ones
20g slivered almonds
4 dried apricots, finely chopped
Sautee the onion in a well oiled pan on low-medium heat. Stir until the onion is soft and the aroma has sweetened, you want to make sure not to burn the onions at all, so if this starts to happen just add a touch more oil.
In a large bowl, combine the sweetened onions, mince, chilli, Moroccan spice mix and a third of the mint, and season well with salt and pepper. There should be enough oil from the onions to get the ingredients to stick together well. Divide the meat into four equal sizes. Squeeze each onto a skewer firmly and set aside. If your meat wasn’t already at room temperature, now’s its chance to be.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining mint, cucumber, yoghurt and lemon juice. You could season the yoghurt dressing to taste with salt and pepper, but try to keep the flavour simple and fresh. In a saucepan bring 1 cup of water to boil and then remove from the heat. Add the vegetable stock, lemon zest and couscous. Stir gently and cover with a tight fitting lid. Once your koftes have been cooked, fluff the couscous with a fork. Stir through the almonds and apricots.
Heat a pan to low-medium heat. The koftes should have enough oil in them to pop straight into the pan, but if you’re nervous, add a smidge of oil. Place the koftes in the pan and grill for a few minutes on each side, turning until cooked through. Serve up on individual plates by starting with some couscous topped with the koftes and drizzled with the yoghurt dressing, or in a serve-yourself style board.