I’ve been wanting to make the lovely Aubergine & Tomato Tagine I put on the blog back in January 2012 for Jonathan & Lyndsey. It’s such a delicious recipe, and we all love aubergines, so I knew they’d like it. It makes a good mid-week vegetarian supper served with just couscous but as it was Friday, and the beginning of the weekend, I knew Jonathan would appreciate a meat addition. Lamb kofte seemed an obvious choice; aubergine, lamb and tomato are a classic combination. For years I’ve used a kofte recipe from Moro East but yesterday decided to change things a bit and use a recipe from Ghillie Basan’s Tagines & Couscous, which is where I got the aubergine tagine recipe from. I’ve had this book for a few years now and use it a lot. My favourite two cuisines have to be Italian and North African/Middle Eastern.
The last time I was in Morocco – a holiday to Marrakesh – was in 2008. It was then I ‘discovered’ that great Moroccan spice mix – Ras el Hanout. At that time I had some made up freshly at a stall in the spice market recommended to me by the lovely Mohammed Nadir with whom my friend Tina and I did a cookery class.
Nowadays ras el hanout is easily found in supermarkets. Mine is from the Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients range. It’s very good and you can even see little bits of dried rose petals in it.
- 800g lamb mince
- 1 large onion, very finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried mint
- 3 teaspoons ras el hanout
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Put the lamb mince and all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly by hand. Do not be tempted to use a food processor or you’ll end up with a paste, which won’t be right.
Grease your hands with a little olive oil then take a heaped teaspoon of the mixture and roll around in your hands to make a roughly walnut- to golf-ball sized kofta. I then flattened mine out a bit and tapered the ends so they’d be easier to griddle.
This made 22 kofte. I’d more than doubled the amount of meat in the recipe and adjusted other ingredients. We cooked 12 and I froze the others. I love having kofte in the freezer as a standby. You can defrost and use for a barbecue, griddle them as we did for this meal, or – one of my favourite things – is to brown in a pan with a little oil then put in a tomato sauce and cook for about half an hour and serve with rice or pasta.
After making the kofte, I kept them in the fridge until needed at suppertime. Then I made the Aubergine & Tomato Tagine (click here for recipe).
I made this a little in advance too and just reheated gently when we were about to eat. Jonathan griddled the kofte for us, nicely browned on the outside but moist within.
I spooned some of the tagine into a bowl and dolloped on some natural yogurt and sprinkled over some chopped mint and fresh coriander (reserved when making the tagine).
We had couscous and a green salad to accompany it.
It was a lovely meal. Some of my favourite flavours bringing an exotic touch of Morocco to our evening and we all enjoyed it a lot.