Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lamb Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce

     It is nice to be surprised.  Earlier this week, I was scrolling through Twitter and I noticed an article posted by one of my favorite bloggers,  This site is run by a Canadian couple, who relocated to Brussels, decided to roam around Europe in a camper but when a family member became sick, they returned to Canada.  The topic of the article seemed familiar to me and when I clicked on it, there was one of my previous guest blogposts.  Nice to relive the memory.

     Then yesterday, while at work (I was taking a break!), I clicked on, a new site created by Stars and Stripes in Europe.  As I roamed around both the travel and food sections, I noticed that several articles seemed familiar.  I clicked on them...and there was my byline. Wow!  I relived lots of memories yesterday.

     Surprise #3 came this morning.  I had ventured into the Strip District to do a bit of food shopping. I didn't have a lot of time but, then again, I didn't need a lot of time.  While in one of my favorite stores, I ordered a half pound of Spanish Iberico Jamon, which is perfect for a Spanish breakfast.  The young man sliced the ham for my order and then declared that he was giving me the remainder of the leg as it was close to the end.  I ended up with 6 ounces of additional ham, and at $50 a pound, I felt like I had just won the jackpot!

     So surprises can help the psyche, I think.  This dish is another surprise.  It is extremely easy to make and tastes even better several days later.  I love that many of the spices in the meatballs are also in the sauce. I made this on Sunday and served it last night alongside sautéed spinach and slices of fresh pita bread.

Lamb Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce
By Sam Sifton, NY Times


For the Meatballs
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 lbs gound lamb
salt and pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 c chopped parsley

For the Sauce
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
3T olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
red pepper flakes to taste
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 t fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t ground cumin
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 t white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
salt and pepper

4 ounces feta, crumbled
2 t sliced mint leaves

1.  Preheat broiler.  In a large bowl, mix together the onion, cream, egg yolks, cinnamon, cumin, red pepper and cayenne.  Put the lamb in the bowl, and season aggressively with salt and pepper.  Add the bread crumbs and parsley and combine the mixture well.  Shape the meat into balls that are a little larger than golf balls.

2.  Grease a baking pan with olive oil, and put the meatballs onto it, spaced evenly. Place under a broiler and cook, turning once or twice, until the meatballs are well browned, approximately 5 to 7 minutes, then set meatballs aside.  Reduce heat to 400.

3.  Make the sauce.  Whizz the tomatoes quickly through a food processor.  Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat for a minute, then add olive oil, rosemary and red pepper.  Shake to combine.  Cook another minute, then add onion, thyme, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and bay leaf and sauce until onions are translucent, approximately 5-7 minutes.  Add tomatoes, sugar, orange juice and salt and pepper.

4.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes over medium-low heat, until reduced by a third.  Adjust seasoning.

5.  Pour tomato sauce into a baking dish.  Transfer the meatballs to the sauce.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through.

6.  Top with crumbled feta and scattered mint.  Serve with sautéed spinach and warmed pita.


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