Thursday, 13 June 2013

Middle Eastern Meatballs

Walking through one of those family-run grocers where they have all the overseas products, mum and I picked up the za'atar at the same time and knew that it NEEDED to come home with us. I was imagining spicing all my meat with it, and mum was imagining dipping pita bread in oil and the spices. I did that too, only with a spoon instead of bread. (let's just say it's much more pleasurable to normal way).

I'd prepared to make some roasted sweet potato so I complimented the whole dish with a Middle Eastern flavour that I can never get enough of: cinnamon. I never thought of it as a spice to add to savoury dishes until I tried it at a restaurant once, and I've never regretted a dump dash FIX of cinnamon in a meal.

So I dusted my sweet potatoes with some of it, and got meatballs made and on the baking tray. Spooning over olive oil was a little weird. Next time, I think I might pan fry them to see if they stay moister, because all the olive oil leached out and into the baking dish. Oh well.

I tried a few without cinnamon, and they were probably a bit moister, and the za'atar was more obvious. But the cinnamon gave it a pretty crust and made it tie in well with the sweet potato.

I couldn't take photos because they were all gone before I knew it :)

Middle Eastern Meatballs

500g minced meat (I used pork, but lamb would be great)
1/2 cup za'atar
1/3 cup animal fat or olive oil (I used olive oil)
additional olive oil, for the outside of the meatballs
cinnamon, for rolling

1. Combine the mince, za'atar and fat/oil in a bowl.
2. Form small balls of the mince with your hands, then roll the ball in cinnamon until coated.
3. To bake: Place meatballs on a prelined baking tray, brush with olive oil and bake in an oven preheated at 180 degrees, for 10 - 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
4. To fry: Heat fat of your choice in a fry pan and add the meatballs, turning as each side cooks. Remove from the pan once they are fully cooked through.
5. Serve with other Middle Eastern vegetable sides, like some roasted cinnamon sweet potatoes, baba ghanoush LINK or some tahini.

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