Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cooking: Cumin Lamb Noodles

This is one of the dishes that I contributed at the last FBM Potluck, cumin lamb noodles. At first, I was expecting a Xian kind of spicy dish. But instead, this kind of turned out to be more Middle Eastern/Morrocan to me. None the less, it was still tasty. A couple of tweaks need to be done (more on that later), but otherwise it's pretty good.

First up, the eggplant which I peeled and cut into cubes.
And the lamb. The recipe calls for ground lamb but I used a whole lamb leg instead. I also cut it up into cubes.
And the seasonings which includes salt (of course), paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper, and more.
And now the cooking begins. In a big ol' pot, start with the sliced onions. Saute until soft.
Then add the eggplant and the seasonings. Toss until well mixed. Be careful not to break up the eggplant too much.
Then add the lamb and cook through. Then add the tomato paste and chicken stock. Cover and simmer until the lamb is cooked through.
On the side, you should have been cooking the pasta. Make sure to undercook a bit because it'll continue to cook with the lamb and eggplant. Unfortunately, I went against my better judgement and didn't buy the good pasta. So I was left with a mushy dish after cooking and reheating this dish.
So you've been warned. Use good pasta. Otherwise, the flavor was quite nice. The eggplant kind of disintegrated into the dish but you can still taste the smaller chunks. And cutting the lamb into smaller pieces was a good choice too. Ground lamb would work perfectly but if you don't find that easily, you can always use leg of lamb like I did.
Overall, I would make this dish again especially since it's a relatively easy one pot meal where the flavors stay pretty tasty throughout the days. Just be sure to use good pasta or be left with a mushy dish.

Recipe below is courtesy of Food & Wine

Cumin Lamb Noodles with Eggplant
TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
SERVINGS: 4 TO 6

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 medium eggplant (1 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, preferably hot
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
3/4 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup chicken stock
8 ounces gemelli
1/2 cup whole plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup chopped mint

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, garlic, oregano, cumin, paprika and crushed red pepper and season with salt. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the lamb and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the sauce is thickened, 12 minutes.

2. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente, 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Stir the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water into the sauce; add more water if a thinner sauce is desired. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the yogurt and mint. Season with salt and serve hot.

MAKE AHEAD The lamb sauce can be refrigerated overnight and reheated.

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