I love runny eggs, and goodness, do I love my ground lamb. Add some nuts and harissa into it, and it becomes a knock-out combination. I stumbled upon this recipe in a lovely book called ‘Jerusalem‘ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. This recipe is on the cover of the book, and to be honest, I saw the picture, my mouth started watering, and I bought the book :).
I made a few modifications – preserved lemon is not easy to come by, and I couldn’t imagine this dish without some fresh lemon juice cooked into the meat, as well as pine-nuts! Lamb and pine nuts are such a beautiful combination because they add a subtle crunch to the lamb without overpowering the meat.
This is a gorgeous, one-pot meal with the spice of the harissa, mixed with the crunchy nuts, oozing egg, and delicious sumac and citrus shining through the dish. This makes a perfect meal when paired with a bold glass of red wine (like a cabernet sauvignon) and some great company. Enjoy!!
PS – If you want to pair it with another dish, make a fresh and light cous cous to go with it! 🙂
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
12 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons sumac, plus a little extra for garnish
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup of crushed, toasted, unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup of toasted, unsalted pine nuts (or pignolias)
2 teaspoons harissa
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup organic chicken stock
4 large, organic eggs
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Garnish: sumac, cilantro, parsley
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1.5 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast-iron pan that you have a tight-fitting lid for (pan 1). Meanwhile, place a second cast-iron pan over high heat for a different use (pan 2).
Step 1: In pan 1 (over medium-high heat with olive oil), sauteé the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned. Now, turn the heat up to high and add the ground lamb, browning for an additional 5-6 minutes, stirring with your wooden spoon occasionally. Add the lemon juice, sumac, cumin, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, black pepper, and stir until well-incorporated. Remove the pan from heat and mix in the nuts, harissa. Set aside.
Step 2: While the onion and garlic are cooking, add the cherry tomatoes to pan 2 which has been pre-heated (note: it is too hot if it is smoking!). Char them for 4-6 minutes, turning them ocassionally, until slightly blackened and blistered on the outside. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and set aside.
Step 3: Prepare the yogurt sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients to a bowl, mixing with a fork until well-incorporated. It should be the consistency of thick yogurt – feel free to add a few teaspoons of water until you’ve reached the consistency you desire.
Steps 1, 2 and 3 can be pre-prepared up to one-hour in advance. When ready to serve, add the chicken stock to the pan with the meat, spices, and nuts and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low. Make 4 wells in the mix and break an egg into each well so that it doesn’t spread and is contained in the well you have created. Cover the pan with the tight-fitting lid and cook over low heat for approximately 3-4 minutes.
Please the charred tomatoes on top of the meat mixture, avoiding the eggs (so you don’t rupture the egg yolks), and cover again, steaming for an additional 5 minutes. (You want the egg whites to be cooked, but the yellow part should be runny).
Remove from heat, dollop with the yogurt sauce as liberally as you want, sprinkle with sumac, and garnish with either freshly chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve hot and serve the extra yogurt sauce alongside since this dish can dry out and needs that moisture.