4 April 2011

Greek lamb meatballs with roasted vegetables - a real crowd pleaser.

I don't mind admitting, I was a bit dubious about this recipe.

It certainly looked appetising and interesting - and I figured I could tweak it around to our likes and dislikes whilst still being able to feed everyone sufficiently.  However, I had a slight reservation over the lamb mince we had roosting in the freezer.  It wasn't from our local butcher, it was an old purchase from the supermarket - before we ventured into lamb mince from the butcher.  However, it needed using up.

As it was, although the meatballs were a teensy bit paste-like on the inside, the flavours were lovely and I reckon the mince did an okay job.  Of course, the next time I do it with butcher's mince, it'll be lovely and chunky which will make for a much firmer meatball.  Delicious!  Considering the meatballs were really only mince, breadcrumbs, grated onion & mint with egg to bind them, they had an amazing flavour.  This was one of those "less is more" lessons in not cluttering up a recipe!

Where the vegetables were concerned, included in the recipe were courgette (which is fine, although son doesn't like them), cherry tomatoes (again fine, although son doesn't eat those either) and potatoes cut into wedges (which of course hubby hates, but son likes).  So, to give son something to eat, I added sweet potato cut into wedges (which pleased both son & hubby) and butternut squash cubes (again, pleased son & hubby).  Me?  I'll eat the lot!

The end result was a lovely melange of flavours - particularly with the feta crumbled over the top.  Son & heir opted out of the feta cheese, but as he had both potato and sweet potato wedges, plus butternut squash (and the ubiquitous tomato ketchup), I figured he'd be fine.

I served a Tzatziki/Raita yoghurt/cucumber/mint combo alongside, which went very nicely with the meatballs and which took on the job of a sauce, on the occasions when something a bit more moist was required.

I particularly enjoyed the mint flavour through the lamb meatballs, together with the combination of feta with courgette and the tomatoes.  Yummy.  The assembled throng declared this to very definitely be a 10 out of 10 dish, which they'd happily have again.  So that's alright then!


GREEK LAMB TRAY BAKE  (feeds 3)

Ingredients :

50g fresh white breadcrumbs
400g lamb mince
1 egg, beaten
2 onions, halved
large handful of mint, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cut into wedges
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
half a tsp dried oregano
a flat tsp of paprika
2 courgettes, cut into batons
200g butternut squash, peeled and cut into large dice
12 cherry tomatoes, pierced
2 tbsp olive oil
50g feta cheese, crumbled

Method :

1.  Pre-heat oven to 200deg C/180deg fan/gas 6.

2.  Put the breadcrumbs, lamb mince, egg and seasoning into a bowl.  Grate in half of one onion and sprinkle in half the chopped mint.

3.  Give everything a good mix, then shape into meatballs – should make around 12-15.

4.  Place the meatballs into the fridge to cool and firm.

5.  Place both types of wedges into a bowl and add the oregano, paprika, seasoning and a tbsp of oil.  Mix to ensure everything is well coated.

6.  Decant onto a large flat roasting tray and place into the oven for 35-45 minutes, turning once.

7.  Place the meatballs onto another large flat roasting tray and add the courgettes, squash and tomatoes.  Season well and drizzle with olive oil.

8.  Add to the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned and cooked through.

9.  Remove from the oven when done and sprinkle with the feta cheese and remaining mint.  Serve.

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