Tonight I was working until 8pm and Alberto until some more ungodly hour and so I decided to riffle through my cookbooks and find something new to cook. This comes from the Great British Bake Off Winter Cook Book and is a lovely little recipe. I made it this morning and then finished off the cooking this evening.
The recipe as listed serves 6 so I scaled it down a little, but not a huge amount, to be honest. 😉 The recipe calls for 800g of lamb mince but I only used 500g. The recipe should make about 30 balls – my scaled down version made 24. Quality control on the sizing was a bit variable though!
800g of lamb mince
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon of freshly ground cumin seeds
200g of feta cheese, crumbled
30g of toasted pine nuts
A small bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of runny honey
1 tablespoon of rose harissa (more, or less, to taste)
175ml of lamb stock
Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190.
Put the lamb mince in a bowl and add the garlic, cumin, feta, pine nuts and chopped mint.
Season with salt and pepper, mix well with your hands and shape into balls, about 2.5cms across.(This can be tricky – the pine nuts keep wanting to pop out!)
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish. (I don’t have a flameproof casserole dish so I started this all off in a large saucepan and then trasnferred to a casserole in the oven later, Unfortunately the saucepan wasn’t quite as non-stick as it should’ve been so the first batch of meatballs that I browned lost some of their structural integrity. I browned the second lot in a properly non-stick frying pan and then returned to the saucepan to brown the onions and make the sauce.)
Brown the meatballs in batches, removing with a slotted spoon once browned.
Add the remaining oil to the casserole dish and gently fry the onions until soft and golden.
Add the tomatoes, honey, rose harissa and stock, season well with salt and pepper and stir well.
Bring to a simmer.
Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover and cook in the oven for 20 minutes* Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
(*What I did at this point was cook the meatballs and sauce, covered, on a highish simmer, for 15 minutes and then transferred the whole lot into a square casserole dish and cooked in the oven, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes.)
Sprinkle with a little more chopped mint and serve with plain boiled rice.
Very tasty – lightly spicy with lots of lovely, distinct flavours. And the feta adds an interesting texture to the meatballs.