Anjum Anand’s Best Ever Burger with Spiced Onions

Makes: 5 – 6

Looking back on every recipe I have typed from Anjum Anand’s cookbook I love India, I always start by praising the book and just how great it is: unusual recipes, great food photography, passionate stories, amazing meals.

So let’s not do that, nor dwell on how I start each burger recipe by talking about how much I love burgers and how the best burgers are about simplicity blah blah blah.

Instead, let’s talk about why you must set aside a lunch in the next week to cook this just awesome burger. I’m talking top three for me. 1. being Gordon Ramsay’s 1-Million Subscriber Burger, 2. being Neil Perry’s classic beef burger with cheese and bacon and 3. being this burger.

We didn’t invest as much in the mince as we usually would and second time round with a mixture of freshly ground chuck, brisket and lamb mince, I reckon this burger would nudge 2.

Possibly 1.

Don’t delay.

Ingredients

For the burgers
500gm minced beef or lamb (including some fat)
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 tsp garam masala
1 egg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 – 6 burger buns
1 large tomato, sliced

For the roasted green chilli yoghurt
3 large green chillies, stalks removed, pierced with the tip of a knife
2 rounded tbsp thick Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp crème fraîche (or mayonnaise)
Good handful of chopped coriander

For the spiced caramelised onions
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp panch phoran (or garam masala)
2 red onions thinly sliced

Method

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the burgers except the tomatoes and the buns, season with 1 1/2 tsp salt and rest for 30 minutes.
  2. On a BBQ or a pan, cook the chillies until charred and blistered on all sides. Once done, wrap in cling wrap.
  3. Heat the oil in a fry pan and when hot, add the panch phoran. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the onions and add a good pinch of salt and cook over a high heat until they have coloured and are well browned on the edges. Adjust the seasoning and set aside.
  4. Mix together the yoghurt, crème fraîche and coriander for the topping, adding a good grinding of black pepper and salt lightly. Once the chillies are cool, peel off their skins, slit lengthways and deseeded, discarding the seeds. Chop the flesh, add to the yoghurt and set aside.
  5. Heat the BBQ/grill to HIGH. Make 5 – 6 large patties out of the minced meat mixture, remembering to make a little flat indent in the centre with your fingers; this will help them cook evenly and not puff up in the middle. (I did not know this, haven’t tried this though good point and will.)
  6. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until charred, flip and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes. Split the buns and char on the grill.
  7. Place 1 slice of the tomato on each bun, top with a burger, a generous dollop of the yoghurt and some onions. Place on the lid and eat immediately.

Sticky Rice with Mung Beans (Kichiri Qoroot)

Serves: 4 – 6

Yes I agree, sticky rice with mung beans doesn’t sound amazing.

Though trust me, it is. Just bare with me.

Over the Christmas break, I read an article in the Washington Post of the best cookbooks of 2020.

It featured an Afghani cookbook called Parwana and knowing how much Nat and I love Middle Eastern, it was promptly ordered on Amazon. (Plus the featured photo was amazing!)

What I didn’t realise is that it’s is an Australian cookbook from an Afghani family and restaurant in Adelaide, SA… called Parwana. Reading their backstory made me so happy.

Anyway, this is the first dish we had, wonderfully cooked by Nat.

We went through a bit of a Ethiopian phase a few months back and even did an Ethiopian feast and whilst the spice and flavours are unique, they’re not moorish.

Afghani food is.

It’s more honest, more homely than say Turkish. (Possibly this is a reflection of the home cooking nature of the book.)

And it’s unique in a particularly good way.

According to the book, this is traditionally a winter dish where the qoroot is a tart, reconstituted yoghurt which is something of an acquired taste; thus substituted with plain yoghurt which it is here. (There you go.)

We will cook much more from this book. I suspect many of the recipes will be typed up.

How fun.

Ingredients

4 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 large brown onion, finely diced
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp tomato puree

For the mini kofta

1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
1 long fresh red chilli, coarsely chopped
Small handful fresh coriander, leaves and stems coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
250gm lamb mince
250gm lean beef mince
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the rice

1/4 cup sunflower oil
2 large brown onions, finely diced
1 large ripe tomato
2 cups medium-grain rice, rinsed
1 cup mung beans

For the toppings

3 cups Greek-style yoghurt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Red and green long fresh chilli, thinly sliced, dried mint and mild paprika to garnish

Method

  1. To make the kofta, finely blend the onion, chilli, coriander and garlic in a food processor. Add 1/4 cup water and blend again to form a fine paste. Place the lamb and beef in a large mixing bowl, add the blended paste with the ground coriander, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix to combine well with your hands for 5 minutes or until the ingredients are re fully incorporated and the mixture is slightly sticky.
  2. Shape teaspoons of the kofta mixture into balls, place them on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to become slightly firm.
  3. Meanwhile, finely blend the tomato and garlic in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large frypan over a medium-high heat and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the blended tomato and garlic and fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the sugar, curry powder, vinegar and 2 tsp salt and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste and mix well to co,nine. Add 3 cups of water to the sauce, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to medium.
  5. Add the kofta to the pan, shaking the pan gently to make sure they are al submerged. Increase the heat to high, bring to the boil then reduce the temperature to medium. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened and is rich in colour. (This too us more than 25 minutes of course.)
  6. While the sauce is cooking, make the rice. Add the oil to a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the tomato and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the tomato has softened. Add the rice and mung beats with 6 cups of water and 3 tsp salt.
  7. Bring to the boil then reduce to low and stir in 1/2 cup more water. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the rice is cooked, soft and sticky, though not mushy.
  8. To make the toppings, whisk the yoghurt, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl to combine. (This will be poured into the centre of the kichiri qoroot.
  9. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over a high heat to 170c. Remove from the heat and stir in the turmeric. Keep the oil hot.
  10. Before serving, ensure the mini kofta and sauce are hot. Spoon the rice out onto a large serving plater, making a well in the centre. Embed the mini kofta into the rice, drizzling some of the sauce over the rice as well. Garnish with chilli slices.
  11. Dot some yoghurt dressing around the kofta and pour it into the well in the centre of the rice. Sprinkle over the dried mint and paprika, then pour the hot turmeric oil over the yoghurt to create a sizzling centre on the plate. Serve immediately.

Beef Mince with Chilli, Basil and Snake Beans

Serves: 4

There is something so appealing – and so comfortable – about Thai mince on rice, beef or pork.

Fish sauce, plenty of chilli, a fried egg on top.

Perfect mid-week dinner territory.

I’ve typed up very similar, though this one is really quite simple and the addition of the snake beans is always a neat touch.

Ingredients

6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bullseye chillies, sliced and deseeded
4 tbsp vegetable oil plus extra for frying the eggs
750gm beef mince
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp castor sugar
2 cups Thai basil leaves
1 bunch snake beans, cut into 5cm batons
4 eggs
Steam Jasmine rice, to serve

Method

  1. Heat a wok over a medium heat until hot and ad the oil. Add the garlic and chilli and stir-fry for about two minutes until fragrant. Add the beef and stir fry until the beef is browned and cooked through.
  2. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and castor sugar and stir fry until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the snake beans and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Add the basil, stir through and remove from the heat.
  4. Fry four eggs in a separate pan.
  5. Serve the mince on steamed rice, topping with a fried egg.

The Bourke Street Bakery Pork and Fennel Sausage Roll – An adaptation

Makes: 24 half sausage rolls

For a family picnic today, I was assigned sausage rolls.

I know it’s easy to love sausage rolls, though is it in reality?

It’s so hit and miss.

The ones from petrol stations are terrible.

And patisseries can sometimes nail their brief, though so often they’re over the top. Too clever by half, too complicated, too much to process.

Sausage rolls are about comfort and flaky, oily pastry. Not something excessively gourmet and challenging: I have a hangover, I just want a coffee and sausage roll amazing-ness.

Bourke Street Bakery – a bit of a Sydney institution – is famous for its pies and sausage rolls. Their pork and fennel sausage roll is pretty amazing.

Though it is on the gourmet end of sausage rolls. The beef bourguignon end of pies if you know what I mean.

Which is why this adaptation of their sausage roll is genius!

It just rolls. It nails true brief.

It is what every patisserie should have on offer from 8am on Sunday morning.

I’d order 6. And several coffees.

I really wanted to cook something special when given the sausage roll brief for today’s picnic.

Why?

My sister in law Court (Coco, CD) and her husband Greg (Gweggy) pulled the broader family together for a post-Christmas BBQ; and a casual gender reveal.

Yep, they’re having baby #1.

And it’s a girl!

Nat and I love these guys.

They make us so happy. Long lunches, late autumn nights by the fire, plenty of wines, too much laughing. (Dancing with Court last year at my 40th, I was pushed fell down and limped for a week: didn’t even blame her!)

We are so proud of you guys. We are so happy for you. You have babysitters for life.

As I’ve previously said, these guys love their food though assume that during the first few weeks of babydom these sausage rolls will make an appearance at their doorstep. Plus curries, pastas and even a pork shoulder.

Go nail this Team K!

We love you.

Ingredients

1tsp fennel seeds, plus extra to sprinkle
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 medium brown onions, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
8 sprigs sage, picked and finely chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
5 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
20gm unsalted butter
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced into 1/2 cm
1.5kg pork mince
100gm breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
Puff pastry
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Toast the fennel seeds in a large frying pan over a low heat for 2 minutes until fragrant. Crush lightly in a mortar and pestle and set aside.
  1. Using the same pan, heat the vegetable oil over a low heat. Sweat the onion and garlic until lightly caramelised. Take as long as you can. This is where the flavour is! Add the toasted fennel seeds, sage, rosemary and thyme and set aside to cool.
  2. In a separate pan, melt the butter over a medium-high heat: add the apples and toss gently in the butter for a few minutes until softening. Add the sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is lightly caramelised. Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan and set aside.
  3. Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, apples and onion mixture. Season well and mix through with your hands until well combined.
  4. Thaw your puff pastry from the freezer. You’ll need around 7 – 8 sheets based on the quantity of pork mixture. Divide the pork mixture evening and roll your sausage rolls, with the mixture being a cylinder about 1/3 of the way down each sheet. Ensure that the seam sits under the meat.
  5. Make a few fork punctures at the top of each sausage roll. Cut the the sausage roll in half or quarters depending on what you are catering.
  6. Beat your egg and egg wash all over the pastry. Sprinkle with fennel seeds.
  7. Bake on baking trays lined with baking paper at 180c for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Brendan Pang’s Juicy Chicken Sheng Jian Bao

Makes: 20 Dumplings

Wowser, this is a cracking dumpling.

One of those dumplings you would order every time you visited your favourite dumpling restaurant. (Which is something we do a lot. Hint: Fangs in Cremorne, Sydney is just awesome and fully BYO.)

The recipe is from Brendan Pang’s book This is a Book about Dumplings.

You might remember him from Masterchef where he continued to blow the socks of the judges with his Asian cooking.

Half the key is the Bao bun dough which is both pan-fried and soft from the steam.

Served with coriander, soy, black vinegar and plenty of chilli… and Champagne.

A Christmas-break dream!

Ingredients

1 cup shredded (Napa) cabbage
1 tsp salt
350gm skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cubed
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
Pinch of superfine sugar
Punch of ground white pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Chopped coriander, for garnish
Soy sauce, Black Vinegar and chilli to dip

Bao bun dough

2 1/3 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp superfine sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of salt

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the (Napa) cabbage and salt and massage with your hands. Set aside for 15 minutes and then using your hands, squeeze our any excess water from the cabbage and return the cabbage to the bowl.
  2. In a food processor, process the cubed chicken until finely minced. Add the cabbage, green onion and garlic and pulse 3 or 4 times or until incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients, Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. To make the Bao bun dough, in a separate bowl, combine the cake flour, instant yeast and sugar. If you are using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and turn on at a low speed. Slowly pour in the milk and oil. If the dough becomes a little dry, add more milk a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.
  4. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes (or 10 minutes if doing by hand). Once the dough is smooth, add a pinch of salt and and knead for an additional 2 minutes or until combined and smooth again.
  5. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
  6. To fill the dumplings, shape the dough into a 3cm thick log and cut into 20 equal portions. Roll each piece into a ball and allow to rest for 3 minutes. Flatten each dough ball with the palm of your hand and then using a rolling pin, roll into a disc about 8cm in diameter. Place one heaped tbsp of filling into the centre of each dough disk.
  7. Gather up the sides and enclose the filling, pinching to seal and flipping so the seam side is at the bottom. Seal all the dumplings.
  8. Heat a large nonstick skillet with a lead over a medium-high heat and heat 1tbsp of vegetable oil. Working in batches (with fresh oil each time), add the dumplings seam side down. Press down firmly to flatten their base and cook until the base is golden brown: about 3 minutes.
  9. Add 1/2 cup hot water to the pan and cover with the lid. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the liquid has cooked off and the underside of the dumplings are crisp again; add more oil if necessary.
  10. Serve with coriander… plenty of side heat and Champagne.

Adam Liaw’s Cauliflower Nachos

Serves: 4

Adam Liam is on a tear and these nachos are no different.

GENIUS.

Lower calorie especially if you use less cheese, guacamole and turkey mince as your protein.

Either way, they are no compromise.

Even better than cauliflower rice – which is in itself not much of a compromise when you take into account you belt size – these nachos have it all.

Do them once, you’ll do them again.

Week time treat.

(Tip: pickle your own jalapeños which we did. Do a bunch of them and refrigerate in a jar. We have them in the fridge and have them with chilli and all sorts of things. A-mazing – look it up, a million recipes!)

I have adjusted this nacho recipe slightly.

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil
500gm (turkey) mince
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp dry oregano
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 very large head cauliflower (or 2 small)
1 – 2 cups (low fat) grated cheese

Fresh tomato salsa

1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
1/4 tsp sugar
Good pinch of salt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp finely shredded coriander
1 tbsp olive oil

To serve

Lime wedges
2 tbsp pickled, sliced jalapeños to serve
2 tbsp sour cream
Guacamole

Method

  1. Heat your oven to 220c. Break the cauliflower into (large-ish) florets and drizzle with 3 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and arrange on a larger baking sheet. Roast for 25 mins until well browned (evening blackening) and tender. Transfer to an oiled baking dish.
  2. At the same time, for the mince, heat a large saucepan over a high-heat and add 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Add and mince and fry until browned. Add the salt, ketchup, cumin, paprika, oregano, cinnamon, and 1 cup of hot water and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the water is evaporated but the mince is still moist.
  3. For the salsa, combine all the ingredients and set aside.
  4. Turn your oven to grill and top the cauliflower in the baking dish with the mince and then the cheese. Grill for 5 minutes until the cheese is browned.
  5. Serve with the salsa, Jalapeños, guacamole, sour cream and lime wedges.

Gordon Ramsay 1-million Subscriber Burger

Serves: 4

It is a truism, though an average burger is just that.

A waste of the calories. A waste of the excitement.

You’re in a resort and you order a burger and fries for lunch and the beef is well done and devoid of flavour; there is no love in the bun or the accompaniments.

A wasted meal.

Actually, I take it back.

An average burger is terrible.

It defeats the purpose.

Conversely, a brilliant burger is heaven.

It is the last meal and something you describe for days.

I learnt a while back that it fundamentally comes down to the beef. The quality, the fat, when it is ground and how it is cooked.

And so if if you read no more, based on this burger I am about to go into:

50 – 70% brisket

30 – 50% chuck

100gm butter per 1kg

Grind as thick as you can – the coarsest grain – and cook as soon as you can over a super-high grill.

This is the second time I have cooked this burger by Gordon Ramsay and it is the best burger I have ever had.

Which is not to say it has to be, though his key regarding the beef combination, butter and cooked rare (of course) is central. Any burger would be genius with this alone.

The recipe was released by Gordon after he hit 1-million Instagram subscribers.

He uses smoky bacon though I crisped up streaky bacon.

Otherwise, the rest is in relatively intact though I have rewritten the method.

It kills me when I make burgers for the kids from store-bought mince.

Though no more.

I don’t cut corners on much cooking. Burger meat will be the same going forward.

This is the best burger you will ever have if you follow the steps.

(And then adapt it!)

Ingredients

1kg equal brisket and chuck
100gm frozen butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
4 slices Swiss cheese

4 large portobello mushroom cups, step and gills removed
Garlic powder
4 large eggs
8 slices of streaky bacon, crispy and drained of fat
2 cups rocket
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

4 brioche buns
Butter for buttering

1/2 cup egg mayonnaise
4 tbsp sriracha sauce
Pinch of sauce

Method

  1. Pre-heat your grill to medium-high.
  1. Get the bottoms of the mushrooms cooking. They will take time to soften and breakdown: at least 30 minutes. Of course, do not let them burn.
  2. Good time to start crisping up the bacon in a pan.
  1. Mince the beef with the frozen butter; otherwise, get your butcher to mince the beef and shave the frozen butter in a combine well. (The sooner to cook time this can happen, the better and if this blog has not sold you on it, supermarket mince is no substitute.)
  2. Form four equal, thick patties and refrigerate to chill. Remember they will shrink. Season well.
  3. Mix together the mayo, sriracha and salt.
  1. Butter the buns and grill them bottom side-down until they are browned.
  2. Turn up the grill, oil the beef patties and pop them on the grill.
  3. Flip the mushroom so that you can sprinkle a good pinch of garlic powder into each and then crack an egg into each.
  4. Flip the burgers after a minute or two. Cook for a minute more and then Swiss cheese on all until it melts.
  5. Take the burgers off and then the mushrooms when the eggs are done.
  6. Assemble: brioche, sriracha mayo, mushroom/egg, beef, tomato, rocket and more sriracha mayo on the top bun.
  7. Open a beer if you have not already done so by now.

Spicy Lamb Mince Jaffas with Labne

Serves: 4

Let’s work backwards on this cracker of a toasted, late-night sandwich.

Labne.

Once you make this – and it could not be simpler – you will never do yoghurt again.

Take 500gm of Greek-style yoghurt and mix through a teaspoon of salt flakes. Pour it into a sieve lined with a muslin (or a Chux cloth) and set it over a pot. Leave it to hang over night.

Discard the liquid in the pot and store the thick Labne in a container in the fridge until needed.

Think of it like yoghurt spread.

For curries. For mince. For toast at breakfast.

A-mazing.

This toastie – which is pretty equally a-mazing – is from the cookbook Chefs Eat Toasties Too. (As someone working on a whole new category for this cooking blog titled Saturday Night Drunk, I recommend this cookbook highly. With a bit of afternoon preparation, that 11pm Saturday night “what’s in the fridge” craving will be well catered and everyone will think you are a genius.)

Either way, please give labne a go at a minimum.

It is awesome and so easy to make!

Ingredients

500gm Greek-style yoghurt
1 tsp salt flakes
1 brown onion finely diced
1 bird’s eye chilli, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50ml light olive oil
500hm minced lamb
1 tbsp tomato paste
500ml chicken stock
50gm pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp allspice
3 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
80gm unsalted butter, softened
8 slices white bread

Method

  1. Make the labne a day ahead. Mix the yoghurt with the salt and pour it into a sieve lined with a muslin (cheesecloth) set over a plastic container. Leave to hang overnight to extract all of the whey. Transfer the thick labne to a plastic container and store in the refrigerator until needed. Discard the whey.
  2. In a large heavy-based saucepan, gently fry the onion, chilli and garlic in the oil for a few minutes over medium heat until translucent.
  3. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the lamb; brown it off until all the juices have evaporated. Add the tomato paste and fry for another minute or so. Add the chicken stock to deglaze the pan; reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Add the pine nuts, spices, herbs and mix well.
  4. Preheat a jaffle maker. Butter one side of each of the slices of bread. Assemble the sandwiches directly in the jaffle maker. Place a bread slice, butter-side down in the jaffle maker and add 3-4 heaped tablespoons of the lamb mixture. Spread to just inside the edges of the bread and top with a bread slice, butter-side up.
  5. Cook until the sandwiches are golden brown and sealed and serve with the labne as a spread.

300 calorie: Indian-spiced shepherd’s pie

Serves: 4 

By Nat Beerworth

Not only did we cook this dish twice we cooked it thrice! Its super healthy and super delicious. Good to chuck in the freezer for a rainy day. Takes about 15 mins to prep and 50 mins to cook.

Ingredients

500g pack lean minced lamb
1 onion chopped
2 carrots diced
2 tbsp garam masala
200ml hot stock (beef or chicken)
200g frozen peas
1 can tomatoes
800g potatoes diced
1 tsp turmeric
small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
juice half lemon, plus wedges to serve

Method

  1. In a large non-stick frying pan, cook the lamb, onion and carrots, until the lamb is browned and veg is starting to soften, about 8 mins.
  2. Add the the garam masala and some seasoning and cook for a further 2 mins until fragrant. Pour in the stock, tomatos, bring to the boil, add in the peas and cook for a further 2 mins until the peas are cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a large pan of salted water until just tender, about 8 mins. Drain well, return to the pan and gently stir in turmeric and coriander – try not to break up the potatoes too much.
  4. Heat oven to 180 degrees. Transfer the mince to a baking dish and top with the turmeric potatoes. Squeeze over the lemon juice, then bake for 30-35 mins until potatoes are golden. Serve immediately with extra lemon wedges on the side.

Calories: 317

Sausage, Caramalised Onion, Harrisa and Hummus Pizza

Serves: 4

We’re suckers for homemade pizza.

We don’t have it often, though when we do, it’s Ugg Boots on, spicy salami, oregano and basil and plenty of cheese. Mushrooms, chilli, ham, egg, onion…

We also use whole meal pita bread which – I promise – delivers the best crust, time and time again.

We vary the toppings plenty however.

Tom loves his pineapple and Oliver experiments with different meats and cheeses.

And it’s a great night in with wine (parents) and popcorn (parents and children).

Though as proud as I am of my ownership of making homemade pizzas that are as good as you can make at home, I know my limitations and the limitations of homemade pizza.

It’s a great genre though it ain’t commercial pizza, however crispy and spicy I dial it up.

(Conversely, it’s fun to make, we can stay in and it’s cheap.)

The other night, despite it being Saturday night and having a booking at some clever Vietnamese restaurant near us, we both agreed we just could not be bothered.

Feeble suggestions for dinner were made, though cooking dinner was part of not being bothered. We also don’t do home delivery because it is always so disappointing.

I suggested homemade pizza because it epitomises my thinking of a perfect, unplanned dinner on the couch.

Nat agreed though as we drove home, she started lobbing trendy homemade pizza ideas at me. Sous-vided crab with scrambled eggs and chives, shaved pork hock with truffle and something with a whole side of smoked trout and a cod aniseed yoghurt.

Look lady, homemade pizza means crappy pizza, overloaded with cheese and burnt to hell. It doesn’t mean thinking about it and it certainly doesn’t mean prep.

Which is why, when Nat suggested this pizza, I wasn’t super amused and sulked all the way home.

So… let’s be clear.

This is the best homemade pizza I have ever had. Indeed, if I got this at a restaurant, I’d be pretty blown away.

It is just that good.

Which leaves me torn.

Can I ever just make another homemade pizza knowing this exists?

Fuck.

(Note, I have substituted wholemeal pita bread for making your own dough. I believe that for all that is decent about homemade pizza, you should too.)

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
Large punch of caster sugar
1/2 cup hummus
1 tbsp harissa
1/2 cup smoky BBQ sauce
1 1/4 cups pizza cheese
3 gourmet beef sausages
1 tbsp pine nuts
2 wholemeal pita bread
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220c and get your pizza trays ready.
  2. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened. Add the sugar, stir well and remove from the heat.
  3. Mix the harrisa and hummus.
  4. Spread each pita bread with hummus and then drizzle with BBQ sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the pizza cheese. Top with caramelised onion.
  5. Squeeze sausage meat from casing and roll into 1cm balls; arrange on the pizzas. Sprinkle with the remaining pizza cheese and top with pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pita bread is crisp and the sausage cooked through. Serve topped with parsley.