Greek Lamb Meatballs

If you haven’t cooked with lamb before, give this recipe a try and I bet you’ll be hooked. I heard about it on NPR and have loved the recipe all spring.  It’s great on a salad, on pasta or over rice. Give it a try with pita and sides like hummus, baba ganoush, tahini sauce or tzatziki.  

Easy and great for meal prep. You can make extra to freeze in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 months. Just remember to date and label well. You can also store them in a bit of red sauce if you prefer. 

Always look for humanely and sustainably raised meats. If we eat less meat, but higher quality meats we can have healthier people and a healthier planet. 

Greek meatballs with lamb and feta cheese

Greek Meatballs

*Recipe From Kathy Gunst On WBUR’s Here And Now*

Yields: 12-15 meatballs

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried and crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs or panko
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint
  • ¼ to ½ cup feta or goat cheese cheese, finely crumbled, or cut into small cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground lamb (sustainably sourced and humanely raised)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or olive)

 

Optional for Serving

 

  • Toasted Walnuts

 

Directions:

Mince the garlic. In a medium skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook about 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and golden brown. Be careful not to burn. Add the thyme and remove from the heat. Let cool.

Beat the egg and rough chop the mint. In a large bowl thoroughly mix the oil and cooked garlic and thyme with the egg, breadcrumbs, mint, cheese, salt, pepper and ground lamb.

Divide the mixture into 12-15 meatballs. The mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 12 hours ahead of cooking.

Heat a large skillet heat over medium or medium high heat. Once heated, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the canola oil.

Working in batches, cook the meatballs about 3 to 5 minutes per side, until brown and cooked through (there should be no sign of pink). Drain on paper towels if desired or pour drippings into pitas.

To serve, spread the tzatziki onto a serving platter and top with the warm meatballs. Scatter with toasted walnuts, if using.

Goes well with pita, hummus, some rough chopped parsley and/or tahini sauce.

**Recipe from Kathy Gunst on WBUR’s Here and Now**

Moroccan Tagine with Apricots & Lamb

Heavenly is the only way I know to describe the taste of Moroccan cuisine. The flavors meld together so beautifully due to the long cooking times, then do a little dance on your tongue with that first luscious bite. Okay, was that too much? Seriously though…I’m in love with Moroccan food. You’ll just need some dried fruits, a few spices and simple, fresh ingredients. Oh, and a bit of time for the slow cooking to work its magic.

Those spices! Ras el Hanout is a great investment and addition to so many dishes. Perfect addition to eggs, on potatoes, in soups and so much more. It’s worth a trip to your local spice shop. 

Now, let’s get cooking! 

Preparing the mise en place for the tagine.

Yields: 6 cups

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons blanched almond slivers (or whole, raw almonds)
  • 1 1/2 red onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 inch piece fresh ginger
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 pound lamb shoulder or leg (cubed)
  • 8 dates (pitted)
  • 8 dried apricots
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout (Spice Blend)
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

 

Optional

  • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro

 

Serve with Couscous

(makes 4 cups cooked couscous)

  • 1 cup dry couscous
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter

 

Directions:

Thinly slice the onions. Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger with a spoon. Either mince the ginger or grate into a small prep bowl. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the coriander seeds. Use a small paring knife to peel 4 strips of orange peel down and away from you on a cutting board. Rough chop the almonds if using whole, raw almonds.

Heat the butter and oil over medium heat in a tagine or heavy, large saucepan. Stir in the almonds and sauté until golden. Add the diced onions and garlic, stir and cook over low heat until golden.

Stir in the minced or grated ginger, saffron, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds. Add the cubed lamb pieces and stir to make sure everything is coated with the onion, garlic and spices. Sauté for 4 minutes.

Next pour enough water in to cover the meat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender.

Add the dates, apricots and orange peel, stir to mix and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Slice the orange in half and juice it into a small bowl. 

Stir in the honey, Ras-el-Hanout and orange juice. Simmer another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Start with ½ teaspoon salt, and adjust to taste.

The sauce should be thick. If it’s too thin, allow to simmer and thicken with lid off for 5 minutes, or add a few tablespoons of water if necessary. Rough chop the cilantro.

Top with chopped cilantro and serve along side couscous or brown rice.

Adapted from: https://keviniscooking.com/lamb-tagine-dates-apricots-honey/

How To Make Couscous

Boil the water with salt and olive oil or butter in medium saucepan.

Place dry couscous in glass serving bowl. Once water is boiling pour over couscous. Stir once with a fork or spoon. Cover with a lid or plate. Let steam for at least 5 minutes, or until grains are soft.

Fluff with a fork and serve hot.

*Alternatively, you can add raisins, spices and/or slivered, blanched almonds to the couscous before adding the water.

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

Freeze 2 servings of this for another week within a month or so. Place in glass mason jar with about 1 inch of space at top. Set lid loosely on top. Once contents are frozen, tighten the lid.

Make sure to label with name of dish and date.

Cook fresh couscous or rice to serve with it when you thaw and reheat.

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