Braised eggs with lamb, tahini and sumac

From Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi (Appetite by Random House, 2012)

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 10 oz 300 g ground lamb
  • 2 t sumac plus extra to finish
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • scant ½ c toasted unsalted pistachios
  • 7 T toasted pine nuts
  • 2 t harissa
  • 1 T finely chopped preserved lemon peel
  • 11/3 c cherry tomatoes
  • ½ c chicken stock
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • ¼ c picked cilantro leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Yogurt sauce

  • scant ½ c Greek yogurt
  • 1½ T tahini paste
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T water (as needed)

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium, heavy-bottomed frying pan for which you have a tight fitting lid. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 6 minutes to soften and colour a bit. Raise the heat to high, add the lamb, and brown well, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with sumac, cumin, salt and black pepper. Cook for another minute. Turn off the heat, stir in the nuts, harissa and preserved lemon and set aside.

While the onion is cooking, heat a separate small cast-iron pan over high heat. Once piping hot, add the cherry tomatoes and char for about 4-6 minutes, tossing them in the pan occasionally until slightly blackened on the outside. Set aside.

Prepare the yogurt sauce by whisking together all the ingredients with a pinch of salt. In needs to be thick and rich, but you may need to add a splash of water if it is stiff.

Add the chicken stock to the meat and bring to a boil. Make 4 small wells in the mix and break an egg into each well. Cover the pan and cook the eggs over low heat for 3 minutes.

Place the tomatoes on top, avoiding the yolks, cover again, and cook for 5 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny.

Remove from the heat and dot with dollops of the yogurt sauce, sprinkle with sumac and finish with cilantro.

Serves 4.