Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mansaf (Middle Eastern Saffron broth, with meatballs)

80g unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
30g flaked almonds
50g pine nuts
400g jar of cooked chickpeas, drained
2 good pinches of saffron (about 40 strands in each pinch), soaked in 2 Tbsp boiling water
800ml good chicken stock, hot
1 egg yolk
1tsp corn flour or plain flour
250g good quality Greek yogurt
2Tbsp roughly chopped Flat leaf parsley

Kifta (little meatballs)
200g minced lamb
50g crust-less white bread, moistened with 2 Tbsp milk
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp sweet Paprika
3Tbsp olive oil

For the Kifta, combine Lamb, bread, garlic, spices, and some salt and pepper in a food processor, and blend until just coming together. Roll into 35-40 hazelnut sized meatballs, then leave in the fridge for half an hour, if time allows. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan until very hot, then add the meatballs and brown lightly, stirring ever so gently. Remove the meatballs and place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Discard the oil in the pan, but re-use the pan for the soup.
Add butter to the still hot pan, let it foam, then add the onion and a pinch of salt. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any sticking fragments of lamb. Let the onion soften for about 20 min, then ad the almonds and pine nuts. Cook for 10-20 min, stirring constantly to ensure that the onions and nuts cook beautifully and do not burn. Now add the meatballs and chickpeas, and cook for 5 min more. Add the saffron infused water, and the hot stock and bring to a boil. While the soup is coming up to temperature, whisk the egg yolk and cornflour into the yogurt to stabilize it. Once boiling, stir a couple of ladlefuls of the hot soup into the yogurt mixture, then add it all back to the pan, and bring to a simmer for another minute or so. Stir in the parsley, season with salt and pepper, and serve hot.

This is from a book called Moro East. I just got it and I am in love with it already. The recipes are inspired by Spain and the Muslim Mediterranean, but also by their gardening allotment. It’s an interesting story, and a beautiful book, and the recipes look amazing. This one is going to be the first of quite a few from this book I think.

This was not hard to make, and it didn’t take too long. Rolling out the 35-40 meatballs actually went quicker then I thought it would. One thing I have to emphasize, is the stirring after you add the almonds and pine nuts. They are not kidding about watching them and constantly stirring, they go from just fine to almost burned really quick if you are not paying them the attention they need. As long as you watch out during that step though, it’s no problem.

This was so good. The flavors were really authentic, and it made the whole house smell gorgeous. The meatballs were quite light which surprised me since lamb is such a heavy meat. Their flavor was lovely too. This was hearty and satisfying, and I liked it so much that I have already chosen a handful of other dishes from the book that I need to try as soon as possible.


Susie said...

This is exciting. Easy enough but I'd never think of on my own. Thanks!

AteThat said...

That's exactly why I love cook books so much. If I had to stick only to combinations that I could think of myself, I'd be missing out on so very much.

I hope you tried this one, it's really good.