Santa-like jolliness is coursing through my veins like the buzz off a good mulled wine. Visions of cheese platters and frosted snowmen cookies prance around my brain and cloud my vision as I deal with every day “important” things like work, cat food (homemade, of course– what am I, a monster??), and health insurance (l’chaim, ObamaCare). Pandora has crafted the perfectly festive musical accompaniments, Deb is motivating me to be craftier, and ugly reindeer sweaters…well, they’re just a fact of life because there isn’t a fire vast enough to burn every last one.
In the great spirit, I give you meatballs. Standard holiday fare? Maybe not, but they make me feel cozy and happy, so they get a special spot on the holiday menus. The original recipe from Ottolenghi calls for you to bake the balls in the sauce for 5-10 minutes at the end, until browned and thickened. I found this to be lovely, but it does make the sauce very, very thick and a bit chunky. Using the tahini as a sauce post-baking gives you a less solid, more malleable product that has all the same great flavor. We had them on a bed of sautéed chard that had been tossed with a shallot vinaigrette, lentils, and white beans, and folded into a warm pita. It was divine.
- Tahini sauce:
- ⅔ c tahini paste
- ⅔ c water
- 4.5 T white wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- pinch salt
- 1-2 pieces stale white bread (1.25 oz)
- 10.5 oz ground or minced beef
- 10.5 oz ground or minced lamb
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅔ c finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 t salt
- ½ t pepper
- 2.5 t ground allspice
- 1.5 t cinnamon
- 1 egg
- olive oil for frying
- zest of ½ lemon
- Mix all ingredients for tahini sauce in a small bowl until smooth and set aside. If too thick, add a touch of water.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Soak the bread in cold water until very soft. Squeeze out as much water as you can and crumble into mixing bowl.
- Add garlic, parsley, salt, spices, and egg, and mix well. Crumble in meats and mix with your hands until just incorporated. Do not overmix!
- Shape into balls the size of golf balls.
- Heat olive oil (about ¼ way up side of a medium cast-iron pan) over medium high.
- Fry meatballs in batches until brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels when done.
- Arrange in single layer on oven proof dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. If baking with the tahini sauce, take out after 5 minutes, pour evenly over meatballs, and return for 10 minutes or until brown.
- When done, transfer to plates, pour tahini sauce over, and sprinkle with lemon zest. Nom!
One thought on “Beef & Lamb Meatballs with Tahini Sauce”
YUM. Gorgeous pictures too!