Family Meal Alert: Lamb Meatballs and Chickpeas
Here is a recipe to bridge the gap between kid food and adult food. Most kids like meatballs, the lamb gives it a little bit of sophistication-- and everyone will like the sweet/tart cranberries, warm allspice/cinammon flavors.
You can easily swap the chickpeas for rice or cous-cous, but chickpeas are healthier-- and gluten-free (if you leave off the pita bread), for those concerned with that kind of thing.
There's a little bit of prep involved-- and they simmer for an hour and a half-- but you can easily cook these earlier in the day and reheat... Pair it with a chopped greek salad...A perfect Sunday Supper!
For a family of 4, plus leftovers
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 lbs ground lamb, preferably local
a handful of chopped parsely
a couple garlic cloves, microplaned/finely chopped
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinammon
1/4 cup dried cranberries or sour cherries (chop the cherries a bit)
1 large egg, beaten
a cup of white wine
2 cups chicken stock
a couple bay leaves
s few thyme, rosemary, oregano or marjoram branches
2 cans of (good quality) chickpeas
2 tsp ground cumin
1 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mix of herbs, such as parsley, dill, mint, cilantro and tarragon
kosher salt and pepper
pita bread (optional)
Saute onions in a couple tablespoons of oil, until transluscent and soft-- about 5-7 minutes. Let cool for a couple minutes.
Combine lamb, sauteed onions, parsely, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, cranberries/cherries and egg in a bowl. Season with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt, then mix with your hands (not too much-- otherwise the meat gets a litle pasty). Pinch off a little ball, and cook-- to taste for salt.
Once you have the salt level right, roll the remaining meat into "meatball" sized balls. Heat a couple more tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven. Add meatballs (in batches) and brown them on all sides. Put them on a platter while you cook the rest of the meatballs.
Once all the meatballs are brown, add them all to the platter and drain the excess oil. Add the wine to the pot. Let it bubble, scraping any brown bits (i.e., the flavor) off the bottom of the pot. Once the wine has reduced a bit, add the chicken stock, bay leaves and herbs. Add the meatballs back to the pot, bring to a boil, cover with lid and reduce heat to very low. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, then remove lid and simmer for another hour
While meatballs are simmering, preheat oven to 400. Rinse and dry chickpeas, then toss them with a little more olive oil, cumin and a little kosher salt. Roast on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes, until the chickpeas are nicely toasted and a little crunchy.
When meatballs are ready, add chickpeas to a large serving dish. Add meatballs and simmering sauce over the chickpeas. Drizzle yogurt over the top of the meatballs and chickpeas, and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Serve with pita bread, if you'd like.