Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lamb Meatballs Simmered In Creamy Spinach Sauce

I've mentioned on here before that Mike and I started doing Sunday Night Dinners where we make something a little more complicated, rich, or fancy. We make it together, have cocktails or wine, and actually eat it at the dinner table instead of in front of the tv. Recently, we made lamb meatballs simmered in creamy spinach sauce from Padma Lakshmi's coockbook Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet and it was GOOD. My sister has been asking me for the recipe so I figured, if I took the time to type the whole damn thing, I might as well post it for everyone. Enjoy!

Lamb Meatballs Simmered In Creamy Spinach Sauce

For the Meatballs:
1.5 pounds ground lamb
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
.5 cup minced fresh cilantro
.5 to 1 teaspoon cayenne, to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 teaspoon salt

For the Sauce:
3 tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for greasing hands and pan
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 whole dried red chilies
3 cloves
4 star anise pods
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup diced yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon sambar curry powder (or Madras curry powder)
1 tablespoon tomato paste, dissolved in approximately 4 cups boiling water
.5 cup beef or chicken stock
1 pound fresh spinach, washed and chopped thinly (we only used about .5 pound)
1 cup full-fat yogurt

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients to make the meatballs, kneading the mixture to a uniform, doughlike consistency.

Rub a few drops of cooking oil into the palms of your hands, so the meat will not stick, and form meatballs about 2 inches in diameter. You will have about 12 to 14 meatballs.

With a bit of oil on a paper towel, rub the inside of a shallow dish to grease it. Place all the meatballs in a single layer, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours.

Remove the meatballs from the fridge and set them on a kitchen counter. To make the sauce, in a large, wide, deep skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil on medium heat. Toss in the cumin, chilies cloves, and star anise. After 2 minutes, or when the seeds and chilies start to color, add the garlic, onions, and ginger, and stir for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions become glassy. Then add the fresh tomatoes, and stir until they lose their shape. Add the curry powder and stir to mix evenly.

Add the tomato paste water and stock, and continue to stir for 3 to 5 more minutes.

With a serving spoon, gently lay all the meatballs into the sauce, pouring a bit of sauce over them to keep them moist. Add enough boiling water to completely bathe the meatballs, if needed. Cover the casserole with its lid, and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the meatballs on low heat for 40 minutes, gently stirring often to make sure they remain bathed in sauce and do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Do not break meatballs.

Reduce the heat to low, add the fresh spinach, and cover the pan. Once the spinach has wilted and reduced, about 4 minutes, lift the lid and slowly add the yogurt while carefully stirring. Once all the yogurt has been mixed in, add salt to taste, about .5 teaspoon or so.

Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more on very low heat until the yogurt starts to separate a bit. 

Serve hot over plain Basmati rice.


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