Lamb and Pistachio Manti with Shepherd's Salad and Garlic Yoghurt Sauce
“Manti are the Turkish equivalent of ravioli, little pasta parcels that originate from Kayseri in central Turkey’s Cappadocia region. I have teamed my adaptation of these with another classic – the widely available shepherd’s salad that has sustained many a rural worker during their travels with their herds.”
– Christine Manfield, ‘Fire’
More photographs inside.
If we have learned anything with this project, it is not to put off the preparation of a dish for during the week. We were a bit lazy this weekend and decided to cook on Monday instead – bad mistake. We got home late after work, then had to go grocery shopping and started cooking only late in the evening. We ate at 11:30p.m. with a lesson well and truly learned.
Preparing the lamb filling
Christine Manfield’s book ‘Fire’ has always held a certain awe for me. I discovered it years ago and spent hours trawling through amazing recipes from all over the world, but was always too intimidated by the long lists of ingredients and longer instructions to give any of them a try. The book had been relegated to the shelf for a while when I pulled it out this week and flicked through it in search of inspiration for the project. The recipes were still intriguing, and this time, there were several that I couldn’t wait to try, and I added several to the list for this project. I’d like to think that it is the intervening years of experience in the kitchen that is the reason for this very different reaction to my first one to this lovely book.
Mantis in the making
This week’s recipe is from Turkey – small parcels of pasta, stuffed with a flavoursome filling. For the pasta parcels, we used wonton wrappers, which we’d not worked with before. The filling was made with minced lamb, pistachios, yoghurt, allspice, sumac, chilli, mint and parsley which were fried up in a frying pan and cooled before being sandwiched between two wonton wrappers “glued” together with a white-of-egg wash. The manti were then cooked in a saucepan of boiling water until they floated to the surface.
Preparing the mantis
To serve, we tossed the manti through a garlic yoghurt sauce made with greek yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, green chilli, cumin and mint and piled them onto plates which were then topped with the shepherd’s salad. The result – WOW! The manti were divine – the filling wonderfully aromatic and texturally interesting because of the crunch of the pistachios tucked in with the mince, and the cool, creamy yoghurt sauce cutting through the richness of the lamb pasta parcels. The shepherd’s salad, made with pomegranate, cucumber, radish, olives, parsley and pistachio and an astringent dressing of lemon juice, oil and pomegranate molasses, was the perfect foil for the sauce-soused lamb manti. The combination of flavours and textures was incredible and made for a beautifully sophisticated dish.
This recipe is definitely one for the list of dinner party dishes. It is great because it would work wonderfully either as an entrée or as a dessert.