Monday, April 9, 2012

Middle Eastern Meal Main Course

This trip was so much fun! I can't believe we made this great meal with out driving to grocery stores hours away, as we do in Indiana.  Milwaukee has this awesome grocery store, not at all like Indiana. So I walked through the grocery store Sendik's with my mouth open so wide my chin rested on the floor. As a foodie, I know how limited our grocery stores are but this market had carrots as wide as the mouth of cereal bowl and a meat and seafood selection that make my local supermarket look like the fresh food section of the gas station.  I loved buying lamb, testing cheese, trying and buying raspberry and mustard pretzel dip and all the wine. Yum

Meat and Spice Mixture
I loved everything from our meal. The internet is a wonderful place to find recipes and we lucked into these middle eastern meatballs. They were a hit and the flavors were wonderful. These delightful meatballs have the most delicious spices and currents in them. The flavor was exotic with hints of sweet from the currents, nutty from the meat and the sesame seeds and just divine  I loved every bite and they were just as delicious the next day. You could serve them with kebabs and vegetables but we just served them in a large bowl with minted yogurt sauce on the side.  The most amazing thing about this dinner was that everything came out at the same time. Even though it was our first time making everything but the hummus. It was awesome and so delicious. Enjoy!
Raw Meatballs rolled in sesame seeds and waiting to be baked

Middle Eastern Sesame Lamb and Turkey Meatballs

1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
a pinch cinnamon
1 pound ground lamb 
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten lightly
4 tablespoons dried currants
1/4 cup black sesame seeds 
1/4 cup white sesame seeds

 Form level tablespoons of lamb mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs, arranging on a tray as formed.
In a small non-stick skillet cook onion and garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in mint, salt, allspice, and cinnamon. Add lamb, bread crumbs, egg, and currants and combine well.

In a small bowl roll half of meatballs, 1 at a time, in black sesame seeds until coated, transferring to a rack set in a shallow baking pan. Coat remaining meatballs with white sesame seeds in same manner, transferring to rack. Meatballs may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered loosely.

Preheat oven to 450°F.
Bake meatballs in upper third of oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and just cooked through. Serve with Minted Yogurt Dip.

Cooked meatballs 

Minted Yogurt Dip

2 cups plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt)1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

To make the yogurt dip:
In a fine sieve set over a bowl drain yogurt, covered and chilled, 3 hours. Discard whey in bowl and transfer yogurt cheese to bowl. Yogurt cheese may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.
Into yogurt cheese stir mint and salt. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Next time I will share with you the delicious Persian Saffron Rice with Toasted Almonds and Currents. Its my new favorite rice. 

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