This past month I joined the Secret Recipe Club, which was a lot of fun - the idea is that you get randomly assigned another blogger in the group, and choose a recipe from their blog to try out. I was assigned Bite Me New England, which had lots of delicious options to choose from! I ended up selecting this fantastic roasted lamb-and-veggie dish, which was really delicious. It combines roasted ground lamb with crispy roasted chickpeas, green beans, onions, and zucchini (my addition, because I had some extra to use up!). Then everything is tossed with an orange reduction, which goes perfectly with the smoky cumin that's roasted in with the veggies. Definitely a winner! I served this dish as-is, but it would also be great alongside some couscous or with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. My friend Devin brought along a tasty Syrah, which he claims is "the lamb of wines", and so it was a terrific match to this dish!
Crisp and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas with Lamb (adapted from Mark Bittman, via Bite Me New England, original recipe here)
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
Salt and pepper
1/3 pound ground lamb
1/2 sweet yellow onion, cut into thick slices
4 ounces green beans, trimmed
1 small zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
1-1/2 tsp cumin
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 orange
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the chickpeas with a good glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a half-sheet pan nad bake, shaking the pan once or twice, until crisp and browned, 15-20 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Add a bit more oil, along with the lamb. Break up the lamb a bit and roast until it is no longer pink and is starting to become crispy, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the onions, green beans, zucchini, garlic, orange zest, cumin, and cayenne to the lamb, and season with salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven and continue to roast until the veggies are tender and the lamb is very crispy, 10-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and toss the veggies with the chickpeas in a serving dish.
4. Place the roasting pan on the stove top over medium heat. Add the orange juice and cook, stirring and scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until reduced by about half, 5-10 minutes. Toss the orange reduction with the lamb and chickpeas, along with a little olive oil if things are looking dry. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
Wine pairing of the night: Syrah.