Monday, January 3, 2011

"The Middle East on a Flatbread"

2011 -The Year of the Meatball! Are you ready? My daughter gave me The Meatball Cookbook Bible for my birthday in December, and I gave her a cupcake cookbook for Christmas. We are both expecting lots of good things to be cooked by the other in the coming year. She gets exasperated with me because I usually look at a recipe (or two or three) for inspiration, and then follow my own intuition. She feels you should at least follow it exactly the first time. Nevertheless, this first meatball recipe of the year is one her and I have made before, or rather I make the meatballs and she does the rest, and is adapted from a recipe for Lamb Kofte in Bon Appetit January 2010. It isn't difficult to make, despite the multiple components, and we were done in under an hour, start to finish. The most difficult part, depending on where you live, might be finding pomegranate molasses. There really isn't a substitute for its unique flavor and it is worth the effort.

1 lb. ground lamb
peppermint from 4 tea bags (or 2 T. dried mint or 4 T. fresh)
2 T. finely minceded onion
2 finely minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 T. Hungarian paprika
1 1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. cayenne
Form walnut-sized meatballs. These can be made ahead and refrigerated.

Halve and cut thinly crosswise, 1 large onion. Saute in 1 T. olive oil in caste iron skillet, until golden (8-10 minutes). Remove onions and place on baking sheet in 300 degree oven to keep warm. Add 1 T. olive oil and fry meatballs until done (7-8 minutes). Add meatballs to baking sheet in oven. Wrap 4-6 pita breads in foil and put in the oven, alongside the onions and meatballs, to warm.

To make the Syrian red pepper sauce, add to browned bits in pan:
1/2 c. jarred diced pimentos, drained
1/2 c. water
2-3 T. pomegranate molasses
Stir and cook for about 5 minutes, reducing it.

The next time we make this -and we will make this fantastic meal again! -I'm going to substitute the Red Pepper-Pomegranate Jam I recently made, inspired by this Syrian red pepper sauce, for the red peppers and molasses.

While all the frying is going on, mix the yogurt sauce:
1 c. plain yogurt
1-2 T. tahini
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt

To serve, halve warm pitas, tuck in some meatballs and onions (you might want to transfer them to a platter first, instead of my slobbish oven sheet presentation used here), and top with red pepper and yogurt sauces. Don't forget the napkins.

1 comment:

  1. My husband Larry wants me to make this now!!!

    I need to run to the grocery and pick up a few items, Thanks for the recipe!! Pam