Chargrilled Lamb Cutlets, Chermoula

This Moroccan-inspired recipe of lamb cutlets with spiced chermoula is the perfect dish to wow your guests at your next barbecue. Serve with a crisp salad.

Caravan: Dining All Day
From the book Caravan: Dining All Day
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Introduction

These lamb cutlets are best cooked on a charcoal barbecue; it evokes strong memories for us of the charcoal grills at the night market in Marrakesh. When paired with the chermoula, it’s like you are there. But of course a gas barbecue, griddle or inside chargrill will do the trick too. In New Zealand, when someone says ‘chur’, it is an exclamation and recognition of the positive nature of a situation, comment or product. When I prepared chermoula with Iain and Dallas from legendary New Zealand band Fat Freddy’s Drop for the launch of their album Blackbird, they liked it so much they started calling it ‘chur-moula’. This was a great compliment and has been referred to as ‘chur-moula’ in our kitchens ever since. (Miles Kirby)

Serves 4

Ingredients

12 lamb cutlets
100ml vegetable oil
Sea salt and black pepper
For the chermoula:
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
½ tsp saffron threads
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 small garlic clove, very finely chopped or grated
1 mild red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp preserved lemon rind, finely chopped
90ml lemon juice
200ml extra virgin olive oil
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 handful of coriander (leaves and tender stalks), roughly chopped
Sea salt and black pepper

Essential kit

This dish is best cooked on a charcoal barbecue.

Instructions

First prepare the chermoula – you can do this ahead as it will keep for up to a week in the fridge. Break the cinnamon into small pieces with your hands and toast over a medium heat in a heavy-based pan for about 3–5 minutes. Once fragrant and toasted, place in a mortar and pound to a fine powder. Tip into a mixing bowl. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in the same way, until they are turning brown and smell fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and add the saffron to the warm pan (this will intensify the flavour and colour of the saffron). Gently pound the seeds and the saffron, just to break up the seeds. Pour these into the bowl with the cinnamon. Add the red onion, garlic, chilli, smoked paprika, preserved lemon, lemon juice and olive oil to the bowl and mix together. Stir through the chopped herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.

At least 30 minutes before you wish to cook, prepare your barbecue. Light the coals and allow the flames to burn out and the coals to achieve a consistent heat – the outer layer of the coal will be white at this stage. Ensure the coals are evenly spread on the base of the barbecue, leaving one corner without any coals. This empty portion of the barbecue will offer a welcome escape area for any food caramelising or burning too quickly.

Once the barbecue is ready to go, place the lamb chops in a bowl or on a tray and drizzle with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chops on the barbecue and cook to your liking; I cook for about 8–10 minutes for medium rare. When I cook meat on the barbecue I try to limit the amount of turns I make to get a good colour on the first side before flipping. That way you’ll get nice grill lines on the meat. (Alternatively, cook the cutlets in a griddle pan over a high heat, turning once.)

Allow the cooked cutlets to rest for 5 minutes before arranging on a serving dish and smothering with the chermoula.

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