In her new book Feasts, Sabrina Ghayour provides a delicious array of Middle Eastern dishes from breakfasts to banquets and everything in between all with her trademark emphasis on simple ingredients and strong flavours. Here is her spicy take on the classic lamb hotpot. Serves 4 -6.
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 6 cardamom pods, lightly cracked
- vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced into half-moons
- 900g diced leg of lamb
- 1 large garlic bulb, cloves peeled and left whole
- 8 shallots, peeled and left whole
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon English mustard powder
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 500ml chicken, lamb or vegetable stock
- 700–750g red potatoes, unpeeled, thinly sliced
- 50g unsalted butter, melted
- sprinkling of thyme leaves
- Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan), Gas Mark 3½.
Heat a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods and dry-toast for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the spices release their aroma.
Pour enough oil into the pan to coat the base. When the oil is hot, add the onions and fry for 6–8 minutes, or until translucent and the edges start to brown. Add the meat and cook for a few minutes, stirring to coat in the oil and cumin seeds. Add the garlic cloves, shallots and carrots and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the ground cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, mustard powder and flour and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix well, then stir in the stock.
Arrange the potato slices on top of the meat, slightly overlapping them. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle
with thyme leaves and season again with salt and pepper, then cover the casserole with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 1½ hours.
Take the hotpot out of the oven and remove the lid. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C (200°C fan), Gas Mark 7.
Return the casserole to the oven, uncovered, and cook for a further 30–40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown.
Recipe extracted from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, £25, published by Mitchell Beazley (www.octopusbooks.co.uk)