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Lamb Boulettes, Confetti Rice and Honey Nut Broccoli

Lamb boulettes, confetti rice and honey nut broccoli

Lamb boulettes, confetti rice and honey nut broccoli

Meatballs don’t usually seem festive or unusual, but they’re easy to make and grassfed meats are the most economical when ground. I was in the mood for lamb and wanted to use a frozen package I had from Bayou Farm, Ville Platte, Louisiana. We’re so lucky to have abundant sources of pastured protein in Acadiana, and I’m grateful for all the farmers and producers who make these amazing and delicious meats.

Lamb Boulettes

Lamb Boulettes

Recently at a family gathering, I was reminded of the lamb scene from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” It’s the sort of thing the carnivore cook in me thinks is funny. If you don’t, no problem. There are scores of recipe sites that cater to you and make you laugh at us as well. Mom, he’s a vegetarian.

My daughter mentioned a meatloaf recipe she knew of from her junior year abroad in Rome that had some unique (for meatloaf) ingredients, and I decided to use them in this boulette recipe. Seasoned with lots of parsley, lemon zest, parmesan and allspice, they are tender and toothsome without the use of a panade made of bread and milk. Instead, I used tapioca starch or you could use arrowroot.

And for accompaniments I made colorful confetti rice and broccoli. If rice isn’t for you, cauliflower “rice” is a great substitute. My nut’n’honey broccoli complements the boulettes with just a hint of sweet to lift the cashew butter and Tabasco flavors. And it’s a poke in the ribs to my long ago and wayward cereal monogamy.

Confetti Rice

Confetti Rice

Honey Nut Broccoli

Honey Nut Broccoli

This week’s Spotify playlist features some late-summer inspired tunes as much of the country returns to school, and we all savor the sweet, ripe days of the season.

Lamb Boulettes
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Lamb Boulettes
Savory lamb boulettes are meatballs seasoned with parsley, lemon zest and allspice.
Lamb Boulettes
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Savory lamb boulettes are meatballs seasoned with parsley, lemon zest and allspice.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 10minutes 20minutes 15minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20minutes 15minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in one tablespoon ghee for 5 minutes or until soft, but not brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. In a large bowl, dissolve tapioca starch in wine.
  3. Add lamb and all other ingredients except two remaining tablespoons of ghee. Combine well. Using a 1/8 cup measure, shape into 12 boulettes (meatballs).
  4. In large, oven proof skillet, add 2 tablespoons ghee and sauté meatballs on all sides until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
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Confetti Rice
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Confetti Rice
Long-grain rice side dish with colorful, flavorful bits of onion and pepper.
Confetti Rice
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Long-grain rice side dish with colorful, flavorful bits of onion and pepper.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 5minutes 15minutes 15minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15minutes 15minutes
Ingredients
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and peppers and sauté over medium heat for three minutes.
  2. Add rice and salt. Sauté for two minutes.
  3. Add broth, stir to combine ingredients. Cover and reduce heat to medium low.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes. Lift lid and using the end of a wooden or other spoon, insert into center of pan, scraping gently to the bottom. If liquid remains, re-cover, cook another 2-3 minutes and check again. When liquid is evaporated, turn off heat, re-cover pan and allow to steam gently for five minutes. Fluff rice and serve.
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Honey Nut Broccoli
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Honey Nut Broccoli
Crisp broccoli with cashew butter, honey, Tabasco and macadamia nuts.
Honey Nut Broccoli
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Crisp broccoli with cashew butter, honey, Tabasco and macadamia nuts.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4servings 5minutes 5minutes 3minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5minutes 3minutes
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Instructions
  1. Add 1/2 cup of water to large sauce pan, bring to boil over high heat.
  2. Add broccoli, cover and steam for three minutes, until crisp tender. Drain and remove broccoli to serving dish.
  3. Add remaining ingredients in now empty saucepan over medium low heat. Stir to combine thoroughly, until cashew butter is completely melted. Add broccoli to pan and combine, heating through and cooking to desired tenderness. Taste and correct seasoning, adding salt, pepper or Tabasco as desired.
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Grill Pan Lamb, Peppers and Onions

Take kebabs indoors without the skewers; marinated lamb, peppers, green onions, pomegranate, and feta.

Take kebabs indoors without the skewers; marinated lamb, peppers, green onions, pomegranate, and feta.

My least favorite day of the year is when the clocks turn back, and it gets dark early. I always feel like the curtains are closing on the best part of the year. Already the yard is full of brown leaves. The foliage is thinning; it’s getting too cool to eat outside on the deck. We’ll continue to grill outdoors, and even have the occasional supper or brunch al fresco, but it’s going to be a long haul until spring. It’s not a total bummer by any means, though I’m not a winter type even here in moderate South Louisiana. The humidity of the 40-degree days goes deep in the bones. For sure it’s gumbo weather and after a too-long wait, Hawk’s will be serving boiled crawfish. But it’s an adjustment time for me. For Harris, it’s just pure aggravation. He likes it hot and humid, and everything else is second rate.

We’ve got nothing to complain about; I realize. But I’d be less than honest if I said it didn’t bother me. So I decided to turn my attention to indoor grilling and inadvertently came up with a dish that looks like Christmas on a plate. That was cheering. And that’s how I try to roll with the changing seasons. I just have to move my mindset out of the spring and summer and look for the pleasures of now.

Harris finished building a greenhouse last weekend. He moved lots of containers inside the cozy warmth. He has tomatoes ready to ripen; Tabasco, shishito, and poblano peppers in various stages of growth; a transplanted cucumber vine that was flowering in the garden; as well as flowers, berries and all kinds of neat things.

He rewired an outdoor light with his brother-in-law, Nathan’s, help so he can plug in the heater. It’s about 100 square feet of sunshine and heat. Harris says he’s going to drag a chaise lounge in there so he can pretend it’s still summer. The garden is still kicking, too. Harris has broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts and there’s a bit of okra flourishing.

I wanted to cook some lamb this week, and we enjoy charcoal-grilled kebabs often. It seemed a good time to explore indoor grilling options. Harris gets out his compact spotlight and will grill all year, but sometimes it’s nice not to have to work in the dark and the cold.

By removing skewers from the equation, preparation for this entrée is simple. And since each component cooks separately, there’s no worry about anything being over or undercooked. Feta and lamb are great together and sprinkled on top with the sweet pop of the pomegranate seeds makes for a colorful and spritely dish.

We usually have rice with lamb, but I thought rice noodles would be a nice twist. And Inglewood Farm had tatoi in the CSA this week and last, so I wanted to incorporate it in the side dish. Very much like spinach, tatoi is a mild green and delicious with the rice noodles and savory sauce.

I was in a global mood when I put the Spotify playlist together. Warm tunes to take the chill off the start of fall. I hope you enjoy this week’s menu as much as I enjoyed creating it. Stay cozy!

Take kebabs indoors without the skewers; marinated lamb, peppers, green onions, pomegranate, and feta.
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Grill Pan Lamb, Peppers and Onions
Take kebabs indoors without the skewers; marinated lamb, peppers, green onions, pomegranate, and feta. Christmas on a plate anytime.
Grill Pan Lamb, Peppers and Onions
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Take kebabs indoors without the skewers; marinated lamb, peppers, green onions, pomegranate, and feta. Christmas on a plate anytime.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 20minutes 30minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 20minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Marinate cubed lamb in grated onion, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and cayenne in refrigerator up to one day in advance, but even an hour will give good flavor. An hour prior to cooking add lemon juice. (Adding the lemon juice too far ahead will make the meat mushy.)
  2. Preheat oven to 170 degrees F and place a baking sheet in the oven. Heat grill pan over medium high heat for 10 minutes. Brush green onions with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Place whole green onions in pan without crowding; cook two batches if necessary. Cook for 3-4 minutes until spotty brown on the first side. Lower heat if needed to prevent burning. Turn the onions over and cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove to oven as they finish.
  3. Brush peppers with olive oil and season. Place in pan without crowding. Cook 4-5 minutes and turn. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until peppers are desired texture. Remove to baking sheet in the oven.
  4. Drain the lamb, shaking off excess marinade. Place meat in heated grill pan without crowding. Grill 4-5 minutes without turning to ensure a nice crust develops. Turn and cook 2-3 minutes more. Remove a sample piece, cut into and taste. If degree of doneness has been achieved, remove lamb from pan and add to baking sheet. Continue to cook remaining lamb.
  5. To serve arrange vegetables on platter or individual plates. Sprinkle with lemon juice, feta and pomegranate seeds.
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Noodles and spinach-like tatoi combine in a savory sauce of broth and butter.
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Rice Noodles and Tatoi
Noodles and spinach-like tatoi combine in a savory sauce of broth and butter.
Rice Noodles and Tatoi
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Noodles and spinach-like tatoi combine in a savory sauce of broth and butter.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
10minutes
Ingredients
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Place noodles in heat-proof bowl large enough to hold noodles and one quart of boiling water. Add boiling water and allow to soften for 8-10 minutes. Stir frequently to keep noodles separate. Drain, add a tablespoon of butter or ghee, and set aside.
  2. Shake off excess water from tatoi or spinach. Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the tatoi in handfuls, stir until partly wilted and continue adding until all the vegetable is in the pan. Keep stirring and turning until uniformly wilted. Add remaining butter or ghee, broth, honey, Worcestershire, fish sauce and seasonings. Add noodles, stirring and turning until heated through. Taste for seasoning. Serve in bowls with a few spoonfuls of sauce.
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