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Lamb and bulgar wheat salad with pomegranate

Combining some classic Middle Eastern flavours and super quick to cook, this lamb dish is a great mid-week meal. The soft lamb fillet contrasts wonderfully with salty feta and sweet pomegranate – and any leftover bulgar wheat is great the next day for lunch.

Bulgar wheat is a healthy whole grain with a light nutty flavour. It’s perfect as a substitute for any dish calling for couscous or rice.

The pomegranate has been a staple ingredient of the old world for thousands of years, and yet it still has an exotic allure to us Kiwis. In all honesty, it can be a hard fruit to track down – the season here is March and April so you should start to see it make an appearance soon. If you can’t find it you can replace it in this dish with figs or any type of dried fruit such as dried cranberries.

A symbol for prosperity, abundance and fertility, pomegranate has the added advantage of being amazingly healthy and tasty. Of course, anyone’s first experience with trying to get the sweet crimson seeds (arils) out of the internal pith prison would be forgiven for thinking you need a key or a secret password to unlock the joy of this ancient fruit. It’s moments like those where YouTube becomes very handy!

Serves 2
Prep time 20 minutes plus marinade time
Cook time 15 minutes

Ingrediants

1 lamb fillet (backstrap)
1 garlic clove, diced.
1 tsp each of dried mint, thyme, rosemary, oregano.
1Tbsp Olive Oil.

100g Feta
¼ cup of pine nuts, toasted
½ pomegranate
A small handful of parsley and mint
½ cup bulgar wheat
½ red onion, diced
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil

Method

For the marinade, mix the mint, thyme, rosemary and oregano together with the garlic and add one Tbsp olive oil; season with pepper but no salt. Marinade the lamb anywhere from two hours to overnight.

Next, tackle the pomegranate. For a guide on how to get the arils out watch this video. Keep half the seeds for a healthy snack.

Combine the feta, pine nuts, pomegranate, honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and herbs in a mixing bowl. Mix about and let the flavours mingle.

Put the bulgar wheat into a saucepan of boiling salted water, enough to cover them easily. Simmer on a light boil for five minutes and then take off the heat. Leave to sit in the water.

Grab your marinated meat. Season well with salt and then cook, in a little oil or butter, on a high heat for 2-3 minutes either side for medium rare. Once cooked, it is most important that you let the meat rest for the same time you cooked it. Put a timer on and don’t be tempted to cut into it too early. Those juices need to be sucked back up into the meat for full flavour and tenderness.

Drain the bulgar wheat and then add it to the feta mix. Mix well and taste for seasoning. Serve the bulgar wheat with sliced lamb fillet draped over the top. Enjoy!

Anthony McEntee is a former MasterChef contestant. Check out his food blog and this recipe for spiced prawns with mango and avocado salad.

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