Well, well, well. Just when I think I am recipe’d out, my wine soaked brain does incredible things and conjures up a delectable feast such as this. I was feeling so darn uninspired when I went to the supermarket and was totally thinking along the lines of Bangers & Mash (which are delightful) or fish finger bloody sandwiches, when I had a total lightbulb moment. I kept it fairly simple, one pan and not too many ingredients and the result was this insanely good Beef Kofta, Chickpea & Cauliflower Bake. I went a little nuts with the Tahini yoghurt on top as I am sure plain Greek yoghurt would suffice, but once the ball started rolling I was like a woman possessed. Nothing makes me happier in the kitchen than a spontaneous meal that works so well. The only thing that would make me happier is if you like it as much as I did.

I served and baked this in individual casserole dishes, however there is no need. You could just pile it all into the one baking dish and dollop the Tahini yoghurt around or serve it in the centre of the table and everyone can help themselves. I also used a spice blend called Ras el Hanout, that I make myself in quite a large portion and keep in the cupboard. It is super handy for spicing up any Middle Eastern inspired feast and you will find the recipe link for it at the bottom of the page. It is available for purchase in specialty food shops or online but it really is just a matter of popping spices in a jar and giving a good shake.

Prep time: 30 Minutes

Cooking time: 30 Minutes

$$ Medium Budget

Serves 4

For the Beef Koftas:

600-800gm of beef mince (depending on the portions you are feeding people)

1 heaped tbs of Ras el Hanout

3 cloves of garlic

1 small brown onion, diced

A good handful of continental parlsey leaves

1/2 a handful of mint leaves

1/2 a cup of pistachios

1 egg

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Toasted pistachios, roughly chopped to serve

For the Sauce:

Olive oil for frying

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 small brown onion, finely diced

1 heaped tbs of Ras el Hanout

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 a cauliflower, cut into small florets

400gm tin of chickpeas, liquid and all

1 tin of cherry tomatoes

2 tbs of tomato paste

1 tsp of sugar

Sea salt & cracked pepper

For the Tahini Yoghurt:

1 large tbs of tahini

A couple of tbs of hot water

1 cup of greek yoghurt

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbs of honey

2 tbs of finely chopped parsley

1 tbs of finely chopped mint

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To make the Beef Kofta, place the onion, garlic, pistachios, mint and parsley in a small food processor and blitz until you have a fine paste. Place the beef mince in a large mixing bowl with the onion mix, along with the Ras el Hanout, the egg and season generously with salt and pepper. I find it easiest to use my hands to mix until well combined. Once combined, wet your hands and roll into good sized balls, bigger than a golf ball so that you end up with about 3-4 per person. Place them on a tray and pop them in the fridge while you make the sauce.

Heat a large frypan and add a little oil. Lightly fry the onion until starting to soften and then add the garlic and cauliflower florets. Fry for a few minutes, then sprinkle over the Ras el Hanout, continuing to stir until aromatic. Once aromatic, pour in the chickpeas and tomatoes, add the tomato paste, season with lemon juice, salt, pepper and sugar and stir well to combine. Have a taste and adjust any seasoning to your liking but it should be pretty right.

Remove the Beef Kofta from the fridge and place them, randomly in individual ramekins or a large oven proof casserole (if you have Le Creuset or equivalent you could use that for the entire process). Spoon the sauce around the meatballs, trying to leave the top exposed as they will go lovely and golden once baked. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

To make the Tahini yoghurt, place the tahini in a mixing bowl and use a couple of tbs of boiling water to thin it out slightly. Once thinned and smooth, add the yoghurt, lemon juice, honey and half of the chopped herbs. Use a whisk to stir until lovely and smooth.

Remove the Beef Kofta from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before topping with dollops of the tahini yoghurt, chopped pistachios and the remaining half of the chopped herbs. Enjoy!

Want to make your own Ras el hanout?