Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Meatballs: Your Choice - Lamb, Pork or Beef

Lamb Meatballs

I am in love with the lamb meatball recipe from Nigella Lawson that I found online.  I am so in love with it that I went right ahead and invented a new version of them within days of having made the lamb meatballs, using ground pork.  Of course, having just purchased a whole steer from my rancher friend Mary Pettis-Sarley, I had a whole shelf in the freezer full of the best hamburger ever. I had to design beef meatballs. 

What is it about these that makes them so very, very good?  I believe it's the use of semolina flour.  Semolina, a special variety of high-gluten wheat, is typically used to make pasta.  I keep it on hand for use in gnocchi a la Romana. In the Bay Area, you can purchase it in a well-stocked grocery store such as Country Cheese or Berkeley Bowl.  However, if you can't find it or don't have it on hand, panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), or regular breadcrumbs ought to do just fine.

Unlike many meatball recipes, which call for dipping the meatballs in egg and then breading them, this one just calls for mixing in the semolina and allowing the mix to sit while the semolina absorbs the moisture in the meat and egg, followed by pan-frying.  They fry up beautifully; crispy on the outside, tender in the middle.  Yummy.

Pork Meatballs Frying - they are as delicious as they look!

Pork Meatballs

1 lb ground pork
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg/ 1/2 of a nutmeg, ground
2-3 cloves minced/pressed garlic
3 TB semolina (or breadcrumbs or panko if you can't find it)
OR 2 TB coconut flour (low carb)
1 large egg, lightly whisked

makes 16 meatballs

Lamb Meatballs:  Nigella Lawson

1 lb ground lamb
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions or finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons semolina
OR 2 TB coconut flour (low carb, high fiber)
1 large egg, lightly whisked

Beef Meatballs
1 lb beef
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 freshly grated nutmeg
3 TB semolina (or breadcrumbs or panko if you can't find it)
OR 2 TB coconut flour (low carb, high fiber)
1 large egg, lightly whisked
 2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions and/or finely chopped yellow onion

For either recipe, combine all of the ingredients well, mixing with your hands to make sure that the spices are evenly distributed.  Allow the mixture to sit for half an hour, then form into 16 or so meatballs and place them on a large plate.  (Wetting your hands to prevent the meat from sticking to your hands as you roll them works well, as does using disposable food service gloves.)

When they are all rolled, heat up about 1-2 TB of olive oil or drippings in a large, cast iron or other heavy skillet over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the meatballs.  Be careful not to crowd them; crowding causes them to cook up grey rather than crispy and brown.  If you have a very large pan, you can do them all in one batch.  Otherwise, you can use two frying pans or fry them in batches.  Cook them until crispy and brown, then turn and repeat on all of the sides.  Serve them with well seasoned brown rice.

For an easy pan sauce for the lamb meatballs, squeeze the juice of one half of a fresh Meyer lemon into the frying pan, combine well with the drippings, and serve over brown rice, bulgur wheat or couscous.

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