With its haze of toasted spice, this fragrant and colourful dish is the perfect centrepiece for a summer party. Sweet grilled apricots sprinkled with toasted almonds make a mouthwatering addition to a warm pile of herb-flecked couscous with the spiced meat. I can’t get enough of it – especially with some grilled flatbreads to scoop up all those juices.
Lamb koftes with griddled apricots, couscous and tahini yoghurt
Prep 20 min
Rest 30 min +
Cook 30 min
Salt and black pepper
200ml stock or boiling water
200g couscous (I use wholewheat)
1 small bunch each parsley and mint, leaves finely chopped
½ cucumber, diced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the apricots
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp tahini
50g flaked almonds
6 unripe apricots, halved and stoned
Sumac, to serve (optional)
For the koftes
500g lamb mince
1 small white onion, very finely chopped
25g fine breadcrumbs
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
⅓ tsp chilli powder, or more to taste
Mix all the kofte ingredients with your hands and season generously. Divide into 12, then press each one between your palms into an oval-shaped ball. Put on a plate or tray, cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, pour 200ml boiling water or stock of your choice over the couscous, cover and leave it to sit for 10 minutes. Once the couscous is cool, stir in the herbs, reserving a small amount for the garnish. Mix in the cucumber, olive oil and half the lemon juice, and season. Next, in a second bowl, whisk the tahini, yoghurt and remaining lemon juice and season this, too. Toast the almonds in a frying pan on a medium heat until lightly browned, then set aside.
Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Brush the apricots with a little olive oil, season and griddle cut side down for seven to eight minutes, until they are soft and their skins have wrinkled. (Or cook them under a grill, if you prefer.) Once the apricots are cooked, remove the koftes from the fridge and griddle or grill them for three to four minutes on each side. I err on the side of undercooking, because I like them a little pink and still juicy.
Serve the koftes on top of the couscous with the apricots, drizzle over some tahini yoghurt and sprinkle with the almonds, remaining herbs and a dusting of sumac, if using.
The simple flex
Vegetarians could slowly roast cherry tomatoes in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then toss them with the apricots before serving with the couscous and a crumble of vegetarian feta.
July 18, 2022 at 05:51PM Thomasina Miers