Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt, Eggs and Mint

fin2Look at that! Rich tangy tomato sauce, tender perfect meatballs, creamy egg yolk, cool plain yogurt and refreshing mint. I figured this dish would be fun to make with a team of friends, so I enlisted some of my fav foodies. What a blast we had cooking, sipping wine and laughing. They were all amazing helpers, which allowed me to get some good photos. Thanks to Lauren, Cathie and Stuart for all your help. You all are welcome to come cook with me anytime!

Here is what you will need.

Meatballs

2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1″ pieces

2 1/2 tablespoons maldon salt

1/2 pound (about 2 cups) fine bread crumbs

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sauce

1 large spanish onion, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon maldon salt

2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and ground

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground

2 dutch or other spicy long red chilies, pierced with a sharp knife

One 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained, trimmed and squished with your hands….San Marzano’s are the best.

1/2 cup or more of whole milk greek yogurt

4 large eggs

Finishing

small handful of mint

small handful of delicate cilantro sprigs

extra virgin olive oil

You will also need a meat grinder, the attachment for the kitchen aid stand mixer works perfectly. April says grinding the meat yourself will produce a light, airy and delicate ground meat. Commercially ground meat is over worked, sticky and paste like. She was right, the meatballs came out amazingly tender and light. I will forever grind my own meat:)

First step – place cubed lamb meat into a bowl and set in freezer for an hour or so until the edges get crunchy and slightly frozen.lambcoldToss the cubed meat with salt and the bread crumbs. Grind the meat through the medium dielambgrind1Run it through again on the same medium die. Nice job Cathie! Raw meat never really photographs well, but this looks cool.lambgrind3Before you start rolling out your meatballs, sear one off to check for seasoning. At this point you could add more salt if needed. Once you’re comfortable with the seasoning, start shaping your balls.balls1Perfectly shaped balls by Stuartballs3Now its time to brown the balls. Sear them on all side, do not cook them through. Let them rest to the side while you make the sauce.spice1Toast the cumin and corianderspice2Grind in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinderspice3Grind to a fine powder, some larger bits are ok for texturesauce1Over a high heat saute the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes, then add the ground spices . Add pierced chilies (I couldn’t find long red chilies so I used green ones) and the squished tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes then add 4 cups of water, bring to boil, turn down to a low simmer for 5 minutes.sauce2

Cathie loved squishing the tomatoes ūüôāsauce3Add the seared meatballs into sauce and simmer slowly for 30 minutes.sauce4After 30 minutes, add blobs of yogurt and the eggs. Simmer on low for about 10 more minutes, this will poach the eggs and leave them with firm whites and runny yolks. Check the eggs at 5 minutes to see how they’re coming along, strain them out when the eggs are the way you like them, cooked soft or hard, your choice. I like runny yolks. Sprinkle the cilantro and mint torn in small pieces over the whole stew. Finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.fin1Check out the eggs cooked, hard white runny yolks. perfect!fin3Make yourself a bowl and eat immediately. The recipe made a ton, easily enough for 6 people, I had doubled it so everyone got balls to take home. I had so much fun making this with my friends, its a great group effort dish. Grab your family/friends and settle in for an afternoon of cooking and great eating.cheersCheers!!!

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Green Pea and Ham Soup


Recipe 13 of 103

How about some soup?

PeaSoup01

photo by Jenny

Creamy, earthy, sweet and savory green pea soup with lovely chunks of smoked ham hock. April has you make a ham stock with smoked ham hocks. So lets chat about ham hocks for a moment. The ham hocks you get at a regular grocery stores are smoked and cured, usually all bone, very little meat and that weird overly cured pink color making them very salty. If you can avoid these, please do so, this way you can control the flavor of your soup and it won’t taste like curing salt. Try to find fresh smoked ham hocks,¬†whole foods¬†whole paycheck has them or most good butchers should too.¬†Cooking beans all day with the cured smoked hocks works very well, they stand up to each other much better, but for this soup,¬†you want the delicate pea flavor to shine.

Here is what you will need

For the Broth/Stock

2 pounds meaty smoked ham hocks

1/2 medium spanish onion or any yellow onion

3 small celery stocks

1/2 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 head of garlic, halved horizontally, not peeled

1 fresh bay leaf or 1/2 a dried bay leaf

6 black peppercorns

Combine hocks, veggies, bay leaf, peppercorns and 8 cups of water in a stock pot and simmer for 4 to 5 hours. hamstockThe meat on the hocks should be tender and falling off the bone. Remove the hocks to a big bowl, strain the cooking liquid through a sieve into the same bowl and let the hocks cool in the liquid. When the hocks are cooled, remove all the meat, discarding any fatty hard bits. If you’re lucky and you get hocks with the skin still on them, reserve the skin after cooking and crisp them up in the broiler for a crunchy garnish. Since the hocks I got weren’t cured they needed some salt. I salted mine and crisped them in the broiler. You can make the broth/stock a day or two ahead.¬†hamhockmeat

For the Soup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 medium spanish onion or any yellow onion

1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 teaspoons maldon salt

1/2 cup dry white wine, sauvignon blanc would work nicely

five finger pinch of fresh mint leaves and more torn leaves for finishing

2 10oz packages of frozen peas

extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

3 -4 tablespoons creme fraiche

PeaSoup02

photo by Jenny

Melt the butter in a large pot, add the onions, carrots and salt. Cover and cook, stirring every now and then until onions are creamy and carrots are tender but still firm. about 15 minutes.

PeaSoup04

photo by Jenny

Add the wine and bring to a boil.¬†Let the wine boil until it’s all but gone, about 5 minutes.

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photo by Jenny

Add 4 cups of broth (freeze the remainder for another batch of soup) bring to boil. Look at that lovely ham hock broth!

PeaSoup06

photo by Jenny

Add the mint and frozen peas. Cook at a simmer for about 5 minutes until peas are warmed and tender.IMG_3264Puree soup with an immersion blender right in the pot or transfer in batches and puree in a blender. Add the ham chunks (save some for garnishing) back into the soup and simmer until the ham is warmed. Check seasoning, depending on how salty your hocks were, you may need more salt.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper, a few mint leaves, chunk of ham and a big dollop of creme fraiche. YUM! nothing like home-made soup.