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The Daring Cooks June Challenge: Mutton Meatballs With Apricots

Kebab

Long long ago in mid May, the Daring Cooks posted there June Challenge on Meatballs from around the world. Meatballs being a family favorite,I wasted no time in making them. In fact I made 2 types of meatballs.

They were made and devoured the first weekend after the challenge was posted and amidst all other things never mentioned. Not on the Daring Cooks internal forum nor here when the “day” we can go public with our challenge.So, while it’s still June I must correct this oversight.

One of my friends mom had made these Turkey meatballs stuffed with apricot and light spiced gravy a few summers ago. They were really awesome. Juicy, flavorful with the sweetness from the hidden apricot. Spices from the northern state of Kashmir – cardamom, saffron and cinnamon. Or so, I recalled of that dinner.

When the challenge was posted, I decided to use spices common to the northern state of Kashmir and extend that to the flavors of Silk Route. Ingredients sourced and recipe built from a variety of sources – memory of that turkey meatball, lingering taste of kafta kebab and shammi kebab.

Here I had a recipe that was great on paper.When I actually made it, it turned out a bit dry and not so juicy. An egg or two should help with that problem. I was hasty and added the kebab to the gravy before they achieved their golden – brown color. Cooking them in gravy instead of adding at the last-minute to get the flavors to meld was another rookie mistake. Here is a modified recipe that I am sure would work. I just need another free weekend to re-try this.

Kafta kebab

Mutton Meatballs With Apricots Recipe

  •  10 – 15 dried apricots soaked in water for an hour, seed removed
  • 1 lb Mutton or Turkey mince ( use ground and mix of dark and light meat to make juicy meatballs)
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 3- 4 cardamom pods , shelled and seeds powdered
  • A pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 3 -4 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1 inch ginger root, grated
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoon oil for frying

Gravy:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  •  2 inch  cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 Red Onion finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • Salt to taste

Make Meatballs

1. Mix all the ingredients listed except the oil and mix well. Adjust seasonings per taste.

2. Form the meatballs, stuffing an apricot in the center of each. Set aside.

3.Heat oil and fry the meatballs on medium-low flame till golden brown. Set aside.

Make Gravy

1.Heat oil. Add spices once the oil is hot but not smoking. Add onions and fry till cooked through. Add yogurt and let onions cook in this yogurt base.

2. Crumble a meatball in the crazy and cook through so that the gravy thickens.

3. Add salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

To serve

1. Add the meatballs to the gravy and cook together for few minutes till heated through.

2. Serve warm with rice or rotis.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooked Spring Lamb Stew

Cooking lamb and veggies

When we were Seattle, we were jet lagged most of the days. It was only after 4 days that I began to feel human and stay awake during normal day time. On Monday, when everyone went to work, Varun and I played, watched TV , went for a walk and generally had fun. And along side we made some lamb stew.

Lamb

Now, I don’t normally make a lamb stew on a whim. But my friend’s house is so well stocked and it has an island with a Viking cooking range, that I wanted to cook something nice. Plus, I haven’t cooked with lamb, baby carrots and baby potatoes in a while. So, while Varun and I enjoyed together the lamb thawed. And it was cooked to a slow perfection with spring vegetables while he slept. The stew bubbled merrily as I enjoyed the afternoon catching up on the world of Barefoot Contessa, Rachel Ray and Giada! Not to mention the stacks of Better Home and Garden and Veranda magazines! What a blissful way to spend an afternoon!!

Browned

This truly is an entrée to surprise and impress. It takes minimal effort and with simple ingredients on hand can be made while doing something else – watching a movie, playing poker or simply catching up with friends. The vegetables make the stew colorful and refreshing. And not to mention hearty. And when you enter the home after cooking this stew, the aromas draw you in. You will want to sample this from  the pot.

Spring veggies

Spring vegetables

We ate it with crusty bread to mop up all the gravy but it should go well with some rice pilaf as well. The original recipe is from Whole Foods that my friend had cut out and stuck on her fridge. I made a few tweaks to bring out the flavors. Hope you enjoy it as much as well all did. Pairs perfectly with friends, white wine and cheesecake. Now all you need a spring weekend to enjoy this!

Ready to eat

Spring Lamb Stew Recipe

Serves 5

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lbs – Lamb Stew meat cut into small chunks
  • 3 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups baby potatoes halved ( mix of white, red and purple)
  • 2 cups baby carrots halved
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup spring onion diced for garnish

1. Mix the flour, pepper, paprika and salt and dredge the lamb in the mix.

2. Heat oil in a thick bottom flat pan and working in batches, brown the lamb on all sides.

3. Once all the lamb is browned, in the same pan, add the lamb, white wine and the spices ( rosemary and oregano). Mix well. Lower the heat to a slow simmer and cook for an hour.

4. Add the potatoes and carrots. Mix and cook on low heat for another hour.

5. Add lemon juice and peas. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Cook on simmer for another 15 – 20 mins till peas are tender.

Ladle in bowls. Garnish with spring onions and serve warm immediately.

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