We’d been away for almost a month and were due to arrive back late; tired and exhausted. A friend cooked this for us and left it in our kitchen. All we had to do was crumble over a block of feta and reheat. It’s sufficient unto its own – no need for additional vegetables or carbohydrates. And it went down a treat with a hearty bottle of Pauillac.

You can make ahead and add the feta at the last minute. Alternatively it doesn’t take long to cook as you are using such good quality meat…. but it’s not a cheap dish.

What makes it middle-eastern? It’s the Ras el Hanout, a fabulous mix of roasted spices.

 

Recipe for one-pot middle-eastern meat

 

For four

 

  • 750g/1 lb 11 oz diced fillet steak or lamb loin fillet – get the butcher to take off the fat and gristle and dice quite small (you should not need to cut the meat before putting it in your mouth) BEFORE he weighs
  • 240ml/1 cup marsala (or port) plus more when reheating
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 400g/14 oz tin chickpeas, drained
  • 250g/8 oz baby plum tomatoes
  • 300g/10 oz spring greens (take out woody stems, wash and shred)
  • 400g/14 oz (two packs) feta
  • 3 tbsps Ras el Hanout
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 25g/1 oz mint

 

  1. Make sure the lamb has been properly cut away from gristle etc (you often have to take off a good quarter in weight). Marinate the lamb in the marsala for as long as you can – up to a couple of days.
  2. Get some olive oil hot in a frying pan, take the lamb out of the marsala with a slotted spoon, and brown, stirring every now and again to ensure it browns on all sides.
  3. Sprinkle over the Ras el Hanout or garam masala and fry for a bit longer.
  4. Add the drained chickpeas, the shredded greens, and the marsala, and simmer gently for another five or so minutes.
  5. Meanwhile half the baby plum tomatoes and add them in too.
  6. Add the lime juice and zest.
  7. Scissor over the mint leaves (don’t include stalk). If it looks a bit dry, add a bit more marsala. Simmer, covered, at a low heat for another twenty minutes or so if you have the time.
  8. At this point you can cool and refrigerate until you need it – then reheat, and mix in, while still in the frying pan, the crumbled feta, just enough to heat it through, not so much that it disintegrates completely.