This recipe is the eventual outcome of an experiment that started with quite fancying chachouka, but having both some lamb to use, and a boyfriend whose fondness for pie borders on the obsessional. I usually make the chachouka from the River Cottage Veg book, (someone’s replicated the recipe here) but after all the tinkering, this has basically nothing in common with it. It’s definitely a pie, though. Look, you can see the pastry.
In fact, we get from there to here via the Braised eggs with lamb, tahini, and sumac recipe in Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, liberally crashed into spanakopita. The first iteration worked in pure flavour terms, but the textures were a wash out. So after a bit of work, this is what we end up with.
Striking-looking leafy vegetables are an odd compulsion, I’ll admit, but I love them. Chard, cavolo nero, chicory, any greens you could name – I just can’t walk past them at the market. On saturday, and actually for the first time, the one I couldn’t walk past was radicchio.
It looks like a particularly aggressive lettuce, and it’s basically Italian chicory. Sometimes radicchio has the long slender shape of standard chicory (Treviso radicchio), sometimes it’s smaller and rounder (The Verona or Chioggia varieties). In all cases it has most of chicory’s bitterness, although I found it easier to cook out. Being round and mostly red, I think mine was Chioggia, but I’m not massively sure this matters.
There’s a brilliant salad – I think it’s in Jerusalem– made with thin carrot batons, leaves, and a fuck-tonne of harissa paste. It’s piquant and delightful, and I’ve blogged about it before. It’s the haissa set against the carrot sweetness that makes it – I could eat that stuff until my gastric tract writes an angry letter to my MP.
Basically, harissa is the creature’s proverbials.
So when I was short on time, but craving vegetables, the idea occurred to crash that salad into the kale pizza, and stick it on a flatbread:
This was not an unequivocal success, but if you buy the flatbread it does only take about twenty minutes.
Having failed to blog yesterday’s shawarma properly, here’s a quick note on what I did with the leftover ingredients.
(I fried them, basically.)
The shawarma was made with slow roast lamb shoulder in a heavy-duty spice mix with plenty of coriander and lemon juice. The cabbage was leftover form the pita stuffing. Because the lamb needed to be kept moist and occasionally have water added, it left plenty of run-off juices and fat. Ordinarily, I’d have made a sauce out of this, but it didn’t fit with the kebab vibe, so it went into the fridge.
I’m glad – poured over fried cabbage and reduced it was amazing. What follows is a bare-bones recipe without the rich, spicy meat juices. It’s essentially an excuse to toast pitas full of harissa and tomato paste, and it ought to more or less work.