Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Beef and Lamb Meatballs, Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Veggie Curry

                                                                                  
                                                                                                     
                                                                   
A meatball is made from ground meat rolled into a small ball, sometimes along with other ingredients, such as breadcrumbs, minced onion, spices, possibly eggs and herbs. There are many variations of meatballs that include the use of different types of meat. This recipe uses a combination of ground beef and lamb. Meatballs are usually prepared and rolled by hand, and are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce. In this recipe, I will first sear the meatballs in a cast-iron skillet to seal in the juices, and then i'll braise them in a tomato sauce.

There are many types of meatball recipes used all over the world, including vegetarian and fish alternatives. In this post, I will share my family recipe for meatballs. As side dishes, I cooked some vegetable curry and also some mashed sweet potatoes, cooked in coconut milk. If this meal is not comfort on a plate, I don't know what is. Let's get started, shall we?

EQUIPMENT:
-Large, heavy-bottom pan (a cast iron skillet gives the best results).
-A large mixing bowl.
-A baking sheet covered in aluminum foil.
-A large oven-safe dish.
-2 forks.
-Tablespoon

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEATBALLS:
-1 lb ground lean, ground beef at room temperature.
-1 lb ground lamb at room temperature.
-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (coriander leaves).
-1/3 cup breadcrumbs.
-1/4 cup ground almonds.
-1 teaspoon salt.
-1 teaspoon ground cumin.
-1 teaspoon curry powder.
-1-2 teaspoons chili powder (you can add more or less depending on how spicy you like your food).
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
-1 tablespoon ginger/garlic paste.
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
-2 slices of white bread, soaked in 1/4 cup milk, and torn into pieces (acts as a binder).
-1 large egg, slightly beaten (acts as a binder).
-3 tablespoons olive oil (to braise the meatballs).
                                                                                

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARING THE MEATBALLS:
-In a large mixing bowl, combine the two types of ground meat using a fork.
-Add the dry ingredients (breadcrumbs, ground almonds, salt, pepper, cilantro and spices). use your fork to mix in the ingredients (do not overwork your meat, or you'll end up with dense meatballs).
-Add the wet ingredients (soaked bread & egg). Mix with your two forks until just combined.
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-Apply the 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and heat it on medium heat.
                                                                                  
-Lightly oil your hands with some cooking oil to prevent the meatballs from sticking to your hands. 
-Using the tablespoon, scoop some meat into the palm of your hand and form round balls.
                                                                                     
                                                                                              
                                                                                            
                                                                                          
-Make sure the balls are smooth with no cracks (doing so will prevent them from falling apart in the skillet).
-Place the finished balls on the prepared baking sheet until they're all done.
-Once you're done rolling up the meatballs, depending on how big your skillet is, place about seven in the skillet at a time (do not overcrowd your pan). Do not move them for at least the first 3 minutes or they'll stick to the pan. Use a fork to turn them around in the skillet.
                                                                                   
-Cook for about 4 minutes on all sides until each meatball is nicely browned (be careful not to burn them).
***In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheight*** 
-As you finish browning each batch of meatballs, place them in the oven-safe baking dish in a single layer.
                                                                                       
-Once all the meatballs have been browned and are in the baking dish, cover them with aluminum foil and place them in the center rack of the oven as you prepare the sauce for the meatballs.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE:
-1 28 Oz. can of tomato purée, or 6 large tomatoes, puréed in a blender.
-1 small onion, finely diced.
-1 tablespoon dried basil.
-3 tablespoons olive oil.
-1 tablespoon granulated sugar (to reduce the acidity of the sauce).
-1/2 teaspoon salt.
-1 medium sized carrot, peeled (to reduce the acidity of the sauce).
-1 stick whole cinnamon stick.
-1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
-2 whole cloves.
-3 lightly bruised cardamom pods.
                                                                                  
                                                                                           

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING THE SAUCE:
-In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil on medium heat.
-Add the whole spices into the hot oil and stir. The point of this is to infuse the oil with the flavors of the whole spices. Once the spices start splattering in the pan, remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods from the pan. Leave the cumin seeds in the pan.
-Add the diced onion to the pan and cook until lightly browned.
-Add in the tomatoes and stir.
-Add the basil and sugar, salt and stir. 
-Drop the carrot into the saucepan, cover the pan and bring to a slow boil.
-Once the sauce is bubbling, remove the carrot and pour the sauce over the meatballs. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheight and bake the meatballs for 1hour 20minutes.  

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SWEET POTATOES:
-6  large sweet potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into three equal parts.
-1/2 teaspoon salt (optional).
-1 13.5 Oz. of heavy coconut milk.
-1 cup water.
                                                                                       

in a medium saucepan, pour in the water and add the clean sweet potatoes. Add the salt and cover. Cook  the potatoes until they are slightly tender. Use a colander to slightly drain the water frm the pan.
                                                                              
-Add the canned coconut milk into the pot. Cover and let potatoes simmer on medium until the potatoes are just fork-tender. 
-Once the potatoes are soft, drain any excess coconut milk from the pan and mash using a potato masher to a consistancy that you like. Cover and set aside.    
                                                                                                 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE VEGETABLE CURRY:

-1 small onion, finely diced.
-3 tablespoons cooking oil (I used Canola oil).
-2 small tomatoes, puréed.
-1 teaspoon ginger/garlic paste.
-1/2  green pepper (green capsicum), diced.
-1/2 red pepper (red capsicum), diced.
-1/2 orange pepper (orange capsicum), diced.
-1 teaspoon curry powder.
-1/2 teaspoon ground coriander.
-1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional).
-2 teaspoon of "Royco Mchuzi Mix" spice/sauce thickener (*see link in the video to my Amazon online store for this spice).
-1-2 cups of water.
-1/2 cup cut green beans.
-1/2 cup cubed carrots.
-1/2 cup green peas.
-2 tablespoons finely chopped.
-Salt to taste.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR COOKING THE VEGGIE CURRY:
-In a medium saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat.
-Add the onions and cook till light golden brown.
-Add the ginger/garlic paste and stir.
-Add the peppers and stir.
-Add the tomatoes and stir.
.Add the vegetables in and stir.
-Add the spices in and stir.
-If you're using the Royco spice, now is the time to add it in. Stir and let cook for 3 minutes.
-Add the cilantro and stir.
-Add the garam masala in last. Stir.
 -Add the water and stir. Let the curry come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low. Let it simmer for 20-25 minutes until the carrots are tender.
This. curry is easy to make and is delicious! It can be eaten with pretty much everything from rice, ugali to potatoes.
                                                                                          
This is how my finished meal looked. Can you say delicious and filling?  Yum!!