Ras-El-Hanout Lamb Skewers and Cajun Chicken Burgers

Saturdays for me are usually just as busy as other days. Working, sorting out paperwork, sports or social activities- the day always seems to fill itself up. So when I plan a barbecue, like I did this last Saturday, I don’t often have as much time to create interesting food as I would like. Now sure, I could just buy some pre-prepared food- Marks and Spencer do a particularly nice barbecue range- but buying pre-prepared food never feels right to me. As most barbecue recipes are not much more than cooking various meats, I should be able to come up with something quick and easy, but also with a lot of flavour.

Here are two recipes for barbecuing that I have used for a few years: ras-el-hanout lamb skewers and cajun chicken burgers. Ras-el-hanout is a Moroccan spice mix, typically made up of cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chilies, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn, and turmeric. One of the main uses for this spice mix is in the Moroccan dish tagine, traditionally made with lamb, so I’ve also paired the spice mix with lamb to try and bring out a similar flavour profile. The cajun chicken burgers make good use of the blank canvas you get with chicken, and the greek yoghurt and rocket provide contrasting flavours and textures. Both of the recipes get a lot of their flavours from marinating, so you’ll need to prepare the meat a good amount in advance, but preparing the marinades is the most of the effort required in the recipes. These two took me all of fifteen minutes: quick and easy enough for a Saturday morning.

Ras-El-Hanout Lamb Skewers

Ingredients:
400g lamb neck fillet
2 tbsp ras-el-hanout spice mix (another Moroccan spice mix will do fine)
100ml olive oil
1 red pepper
2 red onions
Skewers

Instructions:
1. Chop up the lamb into skewer-sized pieces. Put the lamb into a bowl with the ras-el-hanout and olive oil. Mix well, and leave to marinade for 8 hours or overnight.
2. If you are using wooden skewers, about an hour before you want the skewers, soak them in water. This will prevent them burning on the barbecue and the meat sticking to them.
3. Cut the red pepper and onions into skewer-sized pieces. Put the lamb and pepper pieces onto the wooden skewers.
4. Barbecue until the meat is well cooked.

Cajun Chicken Burgers

Ingredients (for each burger- simply scale up for more burgers):
1 chicken breast
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ciabatta roll
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 handful rocket
1 sandwich bag

Instructions:
1. Put the chicken breast inside the sandwich bag. Use a rolling pin to flatten the chicken breast into a burger shape. Be careful you don’t break the edge of the sandwich bag doing this.
2. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander, and olive oil to the sandwich bag. Rub the spices into the chicken, and leave to marinade for 8 hours or overnight.
3. Barbecue the meat until it is well cooked. Assemble the burger by adding the cooked chicken, Greek yoghurt, and rocket to the ciabatta roll.

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