An infusion of Middle Eastern and Hispanic flavours, pimiento and paprika effortlessly complement cumin, chili and nutty tahini. This stunning plate works well as a fully-formed main course and is striking enough to result in a string of compliments from lucky dinner guests. I made this for my grandparents who adore lamb and they were very happy indeed!
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
4 lamb-neck fillets
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tsp of pimentón de la vera (a type of smoked paprika, but you can use ordinary here)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
5 tbsp olive oil
black pepper, to taste
1 400g tin of chickpeas
juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
2 garlic cloves crushed
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
3 tsbp of tahini
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water, more as needed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of za'atar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
handful of pine nuts, dry toasted in a frying pan
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp of dried chili flakes
1 aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes
200g courgettes, cut into small cubes
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
pinch of hot paprika
sea salt flakes and black pepper
Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl, add the lamb necks and leave to marinate in the fridge for 1-5 hours (depending how organised you find yourself).
Toast the pine nuts in dry frying pan for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat until they start to brown on both sides, as they change colour like this remove from the pan immediately into a small bowl (otherwise they will continue cooking and burn)
In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine the lemon juice, garlic and salt. Add the tahini and blend until the mixture is thick and creamy. Whilst running the food processor, drizzle in 2 tablespoons ice water. Scrape down the food processor, and blend until the mixture is ultra smooth, pale and creamy. Add the cumin and the chickpeas to the food processor. While blending, drizzle in the olive oil. Blend until the mixture is super smooth. Taste, and adjust as necessary with seasoning and more lemon juice.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper, cover and cook gently for 7-8 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Uncover, stir in the garlic, cumin, dried chili and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the aubergine, re-cover and cook for 6-8 minutes until beginning to soften, then stir in the courgettes, season with salt and cook for a further 4 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, 150ml of water and some salt and pepper then simmer uncovered for 7-8 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Heat the oven to 190C. Heat a large frying pan to a medium heat, place the lamb necks in and seal (browning on both sides so they have a nice colour). No need to oil the pan as there is plenty in the marinade. Caramelise the necks and then place in the oven for 2-4 minutes until medium rare, then leave to rest for 2 minutes. Slice the lamb and put on top of the pisto with a dollop of hummus, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of za'atar.