Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spiced Lamb and Lentil Couscous

Aromatic spices turn plain ground lamb into an especially flavorful dish, and tender red lentils add a warm, hearty touch. Here, I served the lamb and lentils over couscous, topped with a simple tomato-cucumber salad for a fresh, light finish.

Serves 4

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped seedless cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tsp fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/3 cup couscous
Red Lentils and Couscous
  1. Place the lamb in a medium bowl and add the cumin, oregano, turmeric, paprika, and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour (3-4 hours, even better).
  2. Combine the cucumber, tomatoes, and parsley in a bowl and drizzle with 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and toss to combine.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the lamb mixture and cook, crumbling the meat, until just cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl with a slotted spoon and wipe out the pan.
Lamb with Spices
Lamb and Spice Mixture
Lamb Beginning to Cook
Cooked Lamb
  1. Add the lentils and 1/2 cup broth to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Return the lamb to the skillet. Cook, stirring to combine, until warm throughout, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the remaining 1 cup broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the couscous and remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover tightly, and let steam until tender, 6-7 minutes.
Lentils with Broth 
Cooked Lentils 
Lamb Returned to Pan
Couscous in Broth
Divide the couscous among 4 shallow bowls and divide the lamb and lentil mixture on top of each. Spoon the cucumber mixture over the lamb and pass any remaining at the table.

Spiced Lamb and Lentil Couscous

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