Friday, January 15, 2010

Listen to What Elly Says...

One of my favorite cooking blogs is elly says opa! I love it for all her recipes, but most especially for the wide variety of Greek recipes. I made a modified version of Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Tomato and Yogurt over Basmati Rice for dinner last night.

We both loved it! Jeff even ranked it as his second favorite dinner that I've ever made. The original recipe is below with my modifications in italics. It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but we had everything on hand, other than cucumbers. Maybe that is the Greek in me?

This delicious dish is high on our 'make again' list... Although, I think next time I'll go with lamb for the meatballs.

1 lb. ground lamb (we substituted lean ground beef, since we already had it)
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

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

Yogurt sauce: (we substituted Elly's recipe for tzatziki here)
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts (although we had pine nuts on hand, I decided to leave them out for the sake of our daily calorie intake)

Mix all the ingredients together for the meatballs except the olive oil (being careful not to overmix, which could result in a tough meatball) and form into meatballs. At this point, I like to refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes or so (or longer, if you want) to marry the flavors and firm up the meatballs.

To make the rice, heat the butter in a medium saucepan with lid over medium heat. 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 butter. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 40 minutes. No peeking! Once done, take off the heat and let sit for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork and stirring in the toasted pine nuts.

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.

Add olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat (I like using a nonstick skillet for this). In batches, fry the meatballs until cooked through. Place on a paper-towel lined plate and keep warm until all the meatballs are cooked.

Once all meatballs are cooked, drain or wipe out the pan slightly (leave a little fat in there, but not as much as the oil and lamb have made). 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.

To plate: Top the rice with the meatballs and a few spoonfuls each of the tomato and yogurt mixture.

{image via elly says opa!}

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you both liked it! Second favorite dinner ever is a pretty high compliment :)