At the parental unit

It’s summer, uni’s over, and I’m staying with my parents in the Netherlands. I love staying with my parents, for sundry reasons, the foremost being that they’re really great. They’re lovely folks and I like to hang out with them, which, I admit, probably sounds geekier than anything I’ve said before about crocheting or the delights of etymology, but there you have it, I think they’re fun.

The second most important reason that staying with my parents is good, is that I have the opportunity to cook all kinds of things that I normally can’t afford. It’s a brilliant arrangement for both parties involved: they get to eat whatever I make and are free from kitchen duties as long as I’m staying with them; they pay for all the ingredients so I save a load of cash.

I tend to splash out on meat these days, since I will only eat free-range, sort-of-friendly outside reared meat (although I realise it’s debatable how friendly meat can ever be, what with the killing and all) and I don’t usually have the cash to buy it.

Tonight’s (guilt-)free meat fest will consist of Moroccan style lamb meatballs. This is so tasty you won’t even know what’s happening to you. Outdoors-reared, grass-fed, pampered lamb should be easy enough to come by in Scotland; it certainly is here.

For 3 (or two, according to my normal standards), you shall need:

  • 350gr lamb mince
  • a small red onion, grated
  • a little under an inch of fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 small dried chilis
  • 1,5 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls of fresh chopped coriander
  • 100 ml stock (I use veg, but lamb or chicken will do just fine as well)

Chuck the lamb mince into a bowl, add half the grated onion, half the ginger (grated as well), one of the cloves of garlic (crushed), half the dry spices, one chopped up chili and one handful of coriander. Mix and knead it all with your hands and roll wee balls out of the mince. Fry them gently, very gently, in a bit of olive oil in a big frying pan.

Once all the meatballs are brown on the outside, take them out of the pan and drain some of the fat (the mince will be a bit fatty as well, so mixed with the oil you’ll have some left; you’ll probably need to chuck out half of it). Then chuck in the rest of the grated onion, ginger, the garlic (crushed), the rest of the chopped coriander, the last chili (chopped in bits) and the rest of the dry spices.

Once they’re nice and aromatic, add in the chopped tomatoes and the stock, leave to simmer for a few minutes. Taste, and if you need to, add salt and sugar. Then chuck the meatballs back in. Leave to simmer for another 15, maybe 20 minutes, until the sauce is nice and thick and the meatballs are cooked all the way through. Serve with couscous.



About La dittatrice

After years of being based in Glasgow, I've recently made a home for myself in Turin, Italy, for the time being, at least. This blog is my captain's log. Here I note down what I did, and what I ate. A story, then a recipe. That's how this here works. Updates on Wednesdays.
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2 Responses to At the parental unit

  1. Dave says:

    I tried to make Swedish meatballs recently and they didn’t stick together very well. I think they had mince, onion, egg and breadcrumbs in them. Was it the egg in them or the breadcrumbs that holds them together or something that I was doing wrong? I notice your recipe contains neither. I did make them larger than I should have done, which may also be a reason why.


  2. Where they a lot bigger than mine? Mine were maybe 3/4 of a ping pong ball. If I make bigger meatballs (which I do only very rarely), I usually don’t stick in breadcrumbs and only about half an egg. I know that some people use white bread soaked in milk, but I’ve never tried that before.

    Also, what I think really helps is frying them on low heat before adding any sauce, so that they kinda sear themselves shut, if you know what I mean. Other than that I’m not sure what you could do to make the stick together better. Hope this helps!


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