Wednesday, February 08, 2012

shakshouka with lamb meatballs

By Julie

I had wanted to wait to make this until I found merguez. There are actually some promising locations that I'd like to scout out at some point, but none of them are particularly close by and the other day I was feeling frazzled about what to make and I couldn't think of anything else but this, so I just decided to make do without driving all the way across the city. I was also briefly obsessed with trying to make this one Maharashtran Curry recipe. I just knew that if I settled on making that, that I'd spend hours hopping from one Indian grocery to the next in the vain hopes of finding obscure spices. Then I'd come home, headachey, crabby, having wasted all of my good daylight for taking pictures, and then still have nothing to show for it. I'll just have to casually stop by if ever I'm in any of those ethnic, uh, sections of Denver. I'm sure they're very nice. I have eaten at a few Ethiopian places to maybe know otherwise. (But OMGOMGOMG I love Ethiopian food.)
You know what else I love? Getting my hours at work cut, and finding out about it by being flippantly handed a new printed-out schedule as the last item at a staff meeting. "Oh by the way, here are some new hours, thanks everyone back to work." New hours, what like we're open longer? Open on weekends? What? Oh. OH. I see. WTFFFFFFFFFFFFF What boss does that?? THE WORST ONE. It's like out of an office-based comedy. Except it's real. I know you're not supposed to compromise yourself on the interwebs but I hope any future employer (hello? hi!) would sympathize with me. Seriously, anyone want to hire me? I'm very nice. And I can cook. For you if you're nice, too. I will also try extra hard not to talk about politics.
Unfortunately, when I'm stressed I am an emotional un-eater. I don't care about food. Hopefully I'll be feeling less stressed about money and jobs soon. Otherwise, these posts are going to get pretty uninteresting. "boiled frozen chicken sausage", "microwaved frozen broccoli + salt and pepper", "almonds and an apple", "scrambled egg" (actually, I have a lot of opinions on how to make the best scrambled eggs and I probably would like to post about that...)
So the idea behind this recipe was to kind of get the same thing as using merguez, but just make meatballs. I suppose I could have just made straight up shakshouka, which is simply eggs poached in a spiced tomato sauce. But ohh lamb, how I love you. Especially when I find you discounted because you're about to be rotten. And when I can make you into mini meatballs and simmer you in tomato sauce and eat you with runny egg yolk.
serves about 6

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3 garlic cloves, pressed
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, roughly crushed
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon cumin
liberal sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 - 1 lb ground lamb

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons ras el hanout (I sure hope you've gotten/made some and changed your life!)
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
28 oz can of whole tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 eggs
parsley leaves, chopped

1. Mix parsley and spices together, then add ground meat, mix thoroughly. Form into meatballs - I made them mini, about 1 inch in diameter. Just 'cause.

2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic, sauté for about 4-5 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown.

3. Add the meatballs and sauté until there are nice brown spots on them, about 5 minutes.

4. Add ras el hanout and paprika and stir to toast just a little. Pour in the canned tomatoes and juice, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hand. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Crack in the eggs, spacing evenly. Cover and cook until just set, about 5 minutes. uncover and gently baste the whites with tomato sauce, being careful not to break the yolks.

Using a ladle, carefully spoon out an egg along with a good amount of the tomato sauce and meatballs. Top with parsley and bask in the glory of cutting open that egg.
And please pay me to blog.

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