A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grilled Lamb Meatballs

Last night we drank too much and experimented with ground lamb.

Lawson made some Middle Eastern meatballs out of ground lamb, onion, coriander and cumin seeds (toasted and ground), parsley, almonds, salt and pepper, and a touch of cinnamon. But we couldn't agree on whether he should use the food processor or not, so he tried both and we compared them.

Verdict: The food-processed meatballs were much gooier, much harder to thread onto skewers, but the flavor and texture were far superior to the coarser, hand-chopped balls.

The food processor gave us a much more authentically fine, blended texture. I finally understand why Claudia Roden's lamb and beef recipes call for further mincing or processing of already ground meat -- it's a whole different thing. Unlike burgers, where the whole point is the uniform pieces of fat that melt and tenderize, or meatloaf, where excess handling makes the meat tough, lamb meatballs and other spiced Middle Eastern meats really do need to be finely minced or processed.

How convenient: the superior method is way, way easier!

The processed balls are much lighter in color because the onion was processed and distributed throughout instead of in small minced pieces.

To go with the meatballs I made some excellent Jasmati rice; a raita of chopped mint, cilantro, salt, and yogurt; and roasted eggplant slices marinated in basil, garlic, and wine vinegar from the Viana La Place cookbook you sent me a while back. So nothing really matched in country of origin but it all went together perfectly.


Kris said...

Spooky! I had already written my lamb ball post before I saw yours.

I wonder if everyone can do food telepathy, or if it's a special talent of ours?

Eva said...

So strange! It must have been a lamby day. Or maybe there are Lamb Intervals? Like, a certain amount of time must pass between lamb meals, and we'd reached the end of a cycle?