This is one of my favourite things to eat for breakfast (or more like brunch), which is only served at Kazbah, a Middle-Eastern style restaurant that serves great food. I love their breakfast menu, which is not your typical Big Aussie Breakfast or Bacon and Egg Roll, and we almost never fail to order the Breakfast Tagine. Both the lamb and vegetarian versions taste delicious, but we usually order the lamb.
I decided to try replicating this dish at home, but without a tagine of course. A tagine is an earthenware pot with a conical lid which allows steam to circulate during cooking. This creates condensation that drips back onto the meat, fish or vegies, keeping food moist so there is little need to add water. If you have a heavy-based pan with a tight-fitting lid, it should work pretty well as long as steam doesn't escape from it.
I was happy with how the dish turned out, and G happily tucked into his meal and added that it tasted similar to the one at Kazbah. I didn't add feta cheese to it although that would be a bonus ingredient. The "real thing" also uses Sucuk, a type of spicy Turkish sausage. I didn't know where to find that, so I substituted with chorizo instead.
Again, this is an easy dish to cook, and ready-minced meat takes the pain out of cutting meat and having to scrub your chopping board clean. Do try out this recipe. It's delicious with toasted turkish pide/bread, and you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Breakfast Tagine (Lamb) Recipe
500g (or 1 pound) lamb mince
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red/brown onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper / capsicum
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 chorizo, sliced thinly on the diagonal (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
2 tomatoes, deseeded, quartered
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
Handful mint leaves, finely chopped (optional)
1 cup baby spinach leaves
Salt and black pepper
Feta cheese (optional)
Spice mix (blended with 1-2 tbsp water to make a paste):
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp smoky paprika
1/2 tbsp chilli powder (or to taste)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 200C (390F). Roast the capsicum whole for 20-25 minutes until it starts to blister. Remove and let it cool before deseeding and cutting it into thin long strips. (If you prefer not to roast them, just cut them into strips and sautee them in a pan until softened).
- Heat up the oil in a large pan (preferably an ovensafe one if you're going to put it in the oven) and fry the onions until they soften. Add the garlic and fry briefly before adding the spice mix, and fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the lamb mince to the pan and mix well. If the mince is too stiff, mix it through with 2 tbsp water to help loosen and break up the mince so that it doesn't form large clumps in the pan. You can do this before adding the mince to the pan. Otherwise, use the back of the spatula to "mash" the lamb into a fine mince. This will help it absorb the flavours better and give a more consistent and finer texture.
- After the meat has been browned and coated in the spices, push it aside and fry the chorizo. Then add the bay leaf, roasted capsicum, tomatoes, lemon juice and honey. Mix well and bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes. Be careful not to burn the bottom of the pan. There should be just enough liquid to let it steam and cook gently. If the bottom starts to dry up and stick to the pan, add a few tablespoons of water. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chilli flakes if you prefer it more spicy.
- Preheat oven to 200C (390F). When ready to serve, stir in chopped mint and spinach until just wilted. Crumble some feta cheese over it (optional). Break the eggs over the mince, spacing them out equally. Cover with lid and pop it in the oven for 6-8 minutes until the whites are just barely set, but the yolks should be runny. Alternatively, you can just cook it over the stove over low heat. Remove the lid (otherwise the eggs will continue to cook) and serve immediately with some hot toasted turkish bread. Enjoy!
Try to use freshly toasted and ground spices like cumin. The commercially prepacked ones will not have as strong an aroma, so you might need to add a pinch more.