Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Tomato and Yogurt

From Elly Says Opa!

Really fantastic! I’ve been cooking some things from a blog that’s fairly new to me, and this is yet another yummy thing I’ve liked just as it’s written without tweaking.  She’s been using lamb from my favorite place – Lava Lake Lamb – a wonderful sustainable ranch in Idaho that’s doing great things to educate other ranchers in issues surrounding wildlife conservation and strategies for living in harmony with predators like wolves, etc. (we carry their dog treats in the store as well, which are fantastic.) At any rate, I’m often looking for good lamb recipes, as I don’t want to waste any of my precious lamb on a mediocre recipe.  The tomato in this one added a great kick to the flavors.

Notes to self:
Make full recipe to have some left for lunch
Better day off recipe than worknight
Read through recipe entirely before starting
Shortcut below for rice cooker

Serves 4

Mix together:
1/2 small onion, grated or finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg (mix all ingredients together so that the egg gets beaten up a bit)
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
add 1 lb. ground lamb and mix gently
Form into meatballs and chill for 30 min or more to firm up the meatballs
(olive oil for pan frying)
In batches, fry the meatballs until cooked through, about 4 min per side and place on paper towel lined pan in low oven to keep warm

Meanwhile, cook Rice:
To make the rice, heat
1 Tbs butter
in a medium saucepan with lid over medium heat.  Add
1/4 cup minced onion and
1 clove minced garlic, cooking until tender.  Stir in
1 cup brown basmati rice and cook for a few minutes to toast up the grains and coat them with the butter.  Add
2 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. She says to cook for about 40 minutes. (No peeking!), but I felt like mine was done in 25min (I peeked.) Now I’m not sure if my stove is hotter, or whether I could have let it go the full 40 if I hadn’t peeked. Looking at the photo later I wonder if I used regular basmati instead of brown basmati. This is a mystery that might not be possible to solve, as I’m not sure I’m willing to sacrifice a pot of rice at dinnertime. At any rate, once done, take off the heat and let sit for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork and stirring
2 Tbs toasted pine nuts.

Note for Rice Cooker:
Make brown rice in rice cooker and when finished heat 1 Tbs butter in pan on stove, saute garlic and onion in butter, add 2 cubes chicken broth (4 Tbs) and melt. Add rice and toss around and dry it up a bit, add s+p and pine nuts.

Tomato sauce
2 tsp. olive oil with
1/4 cup diced onion
3/4 tsp. oregano
till softened, then add
1 (15 oz.) can diced fire roasted Muir Glen tomatoes (or sub regular)
Simmer while you do other things, turn off if you need to and reheat when ready for dinner

Yogurt sauce
Once lamb meatballs are done frying, turn off heat and get most of the fat out of the pan. Add
1 clove garlic, minced
stir for a moment, then add
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
salt and pepper
and warm gently in pan (no need to turn on again)

To plate: Top the rice with the meatballs and several generous spoonfuls each of the tomato and yogurt mixture.

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