Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Tomato and Yogurt over Rice

"What! He no eat no meat! That's OK, I cook lamb." Name that movie.

A few weeks ago, my local grocery store had ground lamb, which they don't always have, and it was on sale, which was a plus. I grabbed a package not knowing exactly what I would make with it but knew I could find something great. I stumbled onto Elly Says Opa! a while back and love her recipes. She's Greek, and her recipes are authentic.

Anyway, on to the dish. These meatballs were so yummy! I loved the spices, they went great with the simple tomato and yogurt sauces and balanced each other out perfectly. I was a little hesitant about my 3 year old eating the meatballs, I didn't know if she would like the flavors but she ate everything on her plate and even said she liked it.

I stayed pretty true to her recipe, making only minor adjustments. She suggests pan frying the meatballs, which I did, but I'm sure you could bake them also; I'll probably try that next time.

For the Meatballs
1 lb. ground lamb
1/2 small onion, grated or finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
olive oil for pan frying

For the tomato sauce
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
heaping 3/4 tsp. oregano

For the yogurt sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

For the rice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. pine nuts

Mix all the ingredients together for the meatballs except the olive oil. Don't over mix. Heat the oil in a large fry pan, add the meatballs then reduce the heat to medium-low. Fry until cooked, turning half way.

Meanwhile, get the rice going. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add
the onion and garlic, cooking until tender. Stir in the rice and cook for a few minutes to toast up the grains and coat them with the oil. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 18 minutes. Once done, take off the heat and let sit for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork.

To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and then add the onions, cooking until tender. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce to a simmer and allow the mixture to cook as you are making the rest of the meal.

In a small fry pan, toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat. They are done when barely golden and fragrant.

Once all meatballs are cooked, remove them to a plate, covered with a paper towel, to soak up the excess oil. Drain fat from the fry pan and mostly wipe it out. Turn the heat off, and then add the garlic clove (the residual heat will be more than enough to make it fragrant). Stir in the yogurt until just warmed through and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Note: it will be runny)

To serve, put rice on plate and sprinkle with pine nuts. Add meatballs, tomato sauce then yogurt sauce.

SOURCE:Adapted from Elly Says Opa!

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