Sunday, June 24, 2012

On the lamb...

I've had lamb on the brain for the past week or so but I really had no interest in most lamb recipes I was familiar with - mainly the roast leg o' with herbs and a mint jelly on the side. I also remembered having an aversion to the lamb-y flavor of the critter from when I was a kid. This venture was kind of uncharted territory in several ways: I've never made lamb, never made meatballs, and never made lamb meatballs. The recipe also called for cooking the meatballs with rice in them which required soaking the rice, then mixing with the meat, then boiling the meatballs. I found this recipe on Food & Wine – Moroccan Spiced Lamb-and-Rice Meatballs and it was a solid recipe (even though I only sort-of, kind-of followed the gist of it). I didn't add mint (frankly because I only really like mint in desserts) and I didn't have several ingredients either on-hand or in-stock at my place. I also plan to switch a number of the spices out for ones I prefer (e.g. ajwain seeds instead of cumin and Aleppo chile powder for the sweet paprika and cayenne, maybe add in some of this and some of that). One of the folks participating in the experiment doesn’t have much of heat tolerance but she does like flavorful. Fortunately I had a the last of a batch of Abuelita J’s spice mix in the freezer which filled the recipe’s call for Ras el Hanout (a Moroccan spice blend akin to curry blends/Latin American blends – it’s really not that complicated in the least).


The end result was quite tasty, it was a very successful experiment and I think will be an excellent dish for events (on my part) and for you folks at home who want to try something a little different but nothing too Martian.

However:

I’m/we’re also looking into sides and things to round out the dish. Personally I think the meatballs would benefit from more heat/garlic/spicing and possible blending with ground beef to a) stretch out the lamb, b) cut the lamb flavor, c) add ingredients with carminative properties – or plainly put, plants that keep the belching and farting down and aid digestion. Fortunately most of my favorite herbs and spices have that property, so I’ll just add more.

We’re planning another trial run of these, this time with a cucumber salad and a grain. I’ll post more as things progress.

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