Tag Archives: Moroccan

Moroccan Lamb Burgers

For some people their ideal romantic Valentine’s Day meal would be champagne, oysters and rose-water flavoured chocolate mousse all while bathed in the soft glow of candlelight. Us? Nah. We definitely see more romance in a beautifully crafted burger and a great cider. And this is a beautiful burger – delicately spiced lamb mince dotted with sweet apricots with a couple of chunks of griddled halloumi, a dollop of Moroccan chutney from this lovely company (thanks to Mumma and Papa Bird for that!), and drizzle of yoghurt all served in one of the gorgeous buns that we showed you how to make on Monday coated in a swirl of harissa. So grab someone, or several people, that you love and show them you care with this stunner.

Moroccan Lamb Burger

Ingredients for two burgers

  • 250g lamb mince
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3-4 dried apricots, finely diced
  • A large pinch of salt
  • 1 heaped tsp tahini paste

To serve:

  • Two burger buns – you can buy them from a shop but try making your own with our recipe!
  • Halloumi sliced, chargrilled
  • Harissa paste
  • Yoghurt
  • Moroccan chutney (optional)
  • Salad

To  make the burgers simply squidge all of the ingredients together with your hands, shape into two patties and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

Moroccan lamb mince

Once you’re ready to cook you can either cook them entirely on the hob, entirely in the oven or a bit of both. We went for the latter option because they were fairly thick burgers and we wanted to make sure they cooked through but we also wanted some beautiful charring on the outside. Pop them on a hot griddle pan for about 1 minute each side and then put in a preheated oven at 190°C for about 10-15 minutes to finish them off. While they’re in the oven it’s the perfect time to griddled that halloumi until it’s perfectly golden.

Lamb burgers cooking

Halloumi griddling

Then you just get to layer up your burger! Obviously it’s completely up to you how you do it but we put a swirl of harissa on the bottom piece of the bun for a burst of heat, whacked the burger on, then the halloumi, then the chutney, then the yoghurt and served it with plenty of salad on the side. True love, Fats and Bird style.

Salad

Burger with halloumi

Burger with halloumi and sauce

Harissa Aubergine with Spiced Vegetable Stew and Maneesh

It’s no secret that we’re pretty obsessed with Moroccan flavours, we thought we were before we went to Marrakech and it’s only got worse since then! The main body of this dinner is so easy – roasted vegetables with spices and chickpeas but we jazzed it up a little with some harissa infused chargrilled aubergine, homemade maneesh (middle Eastern flatbreads with herbs) and a dip/sauce to drizzle on. If you want to find the basic recipe for the roasted vegetables and maneesh then check out our recipe here – we’ll note any variations. The end result was like a big hug on a plate (that analogy doesn’t really work), warming, filling yet with some freshness from the abundance of vegetables and the tang of the pomegranate molasses. We’re praying that this miserable weather buggers off soon but while it’s hanging around this is exactly the sort of food we love to eat.

If you want to make the maneesh it does take a few hours so best save this one for when you’ve got a bit of time. Alternatively you could make the dough (mixing and kneading) the night before, leave it to prove overnight and the next day in the fridge so you would just have to do the shaping, the second rise which is shorter and the baking after work which is definitely do-able. Find the full recipe here.

Ingredients for the vegetables

  • 1 red pepper, roughly diced
  • 1 green pepper, roughly diced
  • 1-2 courgettes, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion (red or white), sliced into wedges
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, roughly diced
  • A handful of tomatoes – we used a mix of salad and cherry as it’s what we had around but cut into roughly half-cherry-tomato size
  • 1 heaped tsp of ras el hanout
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • A large pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • A splash of water
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Veg for Moroccan stew

As we explained how we made this in an earlier recipe we’ll be brief – throw the chopped vegetables in a large roasting dish, coat with the oil, salt and spices and put in an oven at around 190 for half an hour stirring after 15 minutes. After the half hour add the chickpeas, enough water to make a light sauce and the pomegranate molasses and put back in the oven for 15-20 minutes. All done!

Moroccan stew in progress

Ingredients for the aubergine

  • 1 large aubergine, sliced into 1-2 cm strips
  • Table salt
  • 1 heaped tsp of harissa paste
  • 2 tsp olive oil

After you’ve sliced the aubergine salt it by sprinkling both sides with table salt and then standing up to let the water run off. We don’t bother doing this if we’re cubing and roasting the aubergine with other veg but it makes a real difference doing it this way if you’re chargrilling, they’ll crisp up much better. Leave them for about 10-20 minutes and then wipe with kitchen paper. Get a griddle pan really hot and then turn the heat down to fairly low, it should stay really hot! Mix together the harissa and oil and then brush one side of an aubergine slice with this mixture and lay it down in the pan. Repeat with another couple of slices (being careful not to overcrowd the pan) and then brush the tops of them as they’re cooking. They should take about 1-2 minutes per side, try not to move them too much or you won’t get the nice griddle lines on them. Once they’re cooked pop them on a plate together and keep on cooking them in batches. Once you’ve done them all you can put the plate in the oven just for a couple of minutes to warm them up.

Harissa aubergine

Ingredients for the dip

  • Natural yoghurt
  • Moroccan chutney, but you could use harissa mixed with a little pomegranate molasses instead
  • Tahini

Simply pop some yoghurt in a dish, marble through some chutney/harissa and drizzle with tahini – the quantities are up to you but for each of us we used about 2 tbsp of yoghurt, 1 tsp of chutney and half a tsp of tahini.

Tahini and chutney dip

Now put your dinner together, just whack it all on a plate and get stuck in… it can get very messy! These would all make really nice dishes in a meze style evening too, try serving smaller quantities on little plates/bowls with the maneesh sliced into strips for dipping.

Moroccan feast done!

Chargrilled Chicken with Za’atar and Roasted Spiced Vegetables

Carrying on our Middle Eastern obsession we have another really simple dinner of griddled chicken with roasted vegetables and cous cous. This is quite similar to our za’atar steak recipe and is a great healthy yet filling option. It manages to be comforting enough for winter yet light enough for summer – these chicken breasts would be incredible cooked on a barbecue. This would also be delicious in a lunchbox or taken for a picnic, what a versatile dinner! You’ll see in the photos that we have 2 trays of vegetables – this was because we had veg to use up but in the ingredients we’ve given what should be enough for two people just to go with the dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine, chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 1 courgette, chopped into 2cm cubes/rings
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 peppers, sliced into 3cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 heaped tsp za’atar
  • Cous cous
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place your vegetables in a roasting dish and coat with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the ras el hanout and a good pinch of sea salt. Toss the vegetables to coat them all in the oil and spices and then whack in the oven. These will take around 45 minutes to an hour to become perfectly soft and slightly charred around the edges. Stir them every 15 minutes or so and after around half an hour shake over the pomegranate molasses for the last part of cooking.

Roasted Moroccan Veg

For the chicken place the breasts between cling film, one at a time. Use the base of a large pan to bash them out until they are about 3cm thick and an even thickness all over. Once they’re both done heat up a griddle pan. Coat the breasts with a little olive oil and once the griddle pan is nice and hot place the chicken on. Let it cook on the first side for about 1 minute so that it can start charring and then turn over. On the side that you have already started to cook and is now facing up, sprinkle half of the za’atar so it coats the chicken. After 1 minute on the other side flip the chicken over again and sprinkle the rest of the za’atar on the other side. The chicken should take about 4 minutes on each side to cook so just keep an eye on it and turn it occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick. The sesame seeds in the za’atar should become lovely and toasted during this time… it smells amazing!

Chicken za'atar

Just before you’re ready to serve make some cous cous by placing it in a bowl, covering with boiling water (to about 1cm above the cous cous) and covering the bowl tightly with cling film. Leave it for about five minutes and you should have perfectly fluffy cous cous! Fluff it up with a fork and season with salt. Whack the whole lot on a warmed plate and you’re done! We sliced our chicken up before serving but that’s up to you – whatever you prefer.

Za'atar chicken done

This was lovely hot but would also be great cold – you could mix the vegetables into the cous cous and serve with the sliced chicken for a mid-week lunch to make your colleagues jealous!

Moroccan-style Spiced Vegetable Stew with Maneesh

We had originally planned to make this Moroccan-style roasted vegetable traybake and serve it with cous cous but Bird found herself with a bit of time on her hands. After a flick through Paul Hollywood’s “Bread” she decided to give Maneesh a go. Maneesh is a Middle Eastern flatbread topped with sesame seeds and herbs – basically a za’atar mixture which we’ve used previously with steak. Paul’s recipe can be found here.

The dough was really stretchy and sticky – very fun to work with!  We made half the amount in Paul’s book, he said his made 3 large maneesh but we managed to get 2 pretty huge breads out of half of the mixture. The vegetables were ridiculously simple – a mixture of bite-sized pieces of Mediterranean vegetables, roasted until slightly charred then smothered in chopped tomatoes, mixed with chickpeas and roasted for a further few minutes – often the simplest things are the best. This made a beautifully hearty dinner with enough vegetables left over for 2 lunches. It was lovely on it’s own but would be great with some meat, fish or cheese or could form one of many mezze courses to be enjoyed with friends!

Ingredients for 2 large maneesh

  • 250 g strong white flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 12 g caster sugar
  • 5 g instant yeast
  • 10 ml olive oil, plus extra for kneading and another 1bsp to make the za’atar paste
  • 180 ml tepid water
  • 2 heaped tbsp za’atar

You make this like a fairly standard bread dough. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (adding the salt and yeast to opposite sides of the bowl at first), then add in 10 ml of olive oil and most of the water – you don’t need to bother rubbing in the olive oil like a regular loaf. Mix all of this together until you have a soft, smooth dough, adding the rest of the water slowly as needed. We used pretty much all of the water but you may not need to. Once it has come together tip onto an oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until really soft and elastic. Place it in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film to rise, it needs to at least double in size – ours took just over an hour near a warm radiator.

Maneesh with za'atar

Once it’s risen tip it out onto an oiled surface again and knock back, fold it on itself and make sure all of the air is out. Once done split the dough into two. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll out with a rolling pin to form a large roughly circular shape. Put onto a baking sheet lined with oiled greaseproof paper. Now mix together the za’atar with enough oil to form a thick paste and smear onto the maneesh, leaving a small border around the edge. Pre-heat the oven to 210°C (Paul says 230 but we found this a bit hot) and leave the maneesh to rest for 20-30 minutes while the oven comes to temperature. When the oven is ready pop the bread in, we did ours one at a time as they cook best on the middle shelf. They take about 10-15 minutes to cook, when they’re golden-brown they’re ready! Leave to cool, turn the oven down to 180°C and start chopping your vegetables…

Cooked Maneesh

Ingredients for vegetable stew

  • A selection of chopped vegetables, we used 1 aubergine, 2 peppers, 2 courgettes, 1 large carrot, 1 red onion, all cut into bite-sized pieces with the carrots chopped slightly smaller as they take longer to cook
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes – optional
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1-2 tsp pomegranate molasses – optional

Place all of the chopped vegetables in a large roasting dish and coat with the ras el hanout, sea salt, oil and chilli flakes (if using). Place in a preheated oven at 180°C. The whole dish will take about 1 hour to make, check on the vegetables every 15-20 minutes to move them around. After around 50 minutes they should be getting slightly charred and very soft so tip in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and the pomegranate molasses. Cook for a further 10 minutes and it’s ready!

Moroccan Vegetable Stew

We cut our maneesh in half, served the spicy vegetable stew on half and placed the other half on top for dipping. This was a real success and the maneesh made it feel a lot fancier than it was – give it a try!

Maneesh and vegetable stew