Cumin Mustard Meatballs with Mint Pesto
It's St Patrick's Day tomorrow, i.e. a day to get merry and celebrate all things Irish and green! I unfortunately don't have anything remarkably Irish to share. I remember making shepherd's pie last year, but even then, I added lots of masala spices and called it Indian shepherd's pie, a bastardisation yes, but still one of my most triumphant recipes. I do have something green though. And involving lamb. And a bit of an alliteration.
Cumin Mustard Meatballs
300g free-range minced lamb
1 small onion, minced
1 heaped tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp gram flour (i.e. chickpea flour)
generous grind of unrefined sea salt and black pepper
a little ghee (or olive oil)
1. Combine ingredients together, and mix till it forms a paste. Roll into little walnut-sized balls with wet hands.
2. Fry in ghee on a medium-hot pan, making sure to get a nice sear and caramelisation on the outside, then lower the heat, flipping/rolling the meatballs as they cook. If you don't want to give them so much attention, you can probably also chuck them into the oven for 15-20 min at 200 degrees celsius.
Mint Pesto (no cheese)
2 large handfuls of mint leaves
1 small handful of toasted almonds (or pine nuts, more expensive)
2 cloves garlic
generous pinch of unrefined sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
your favourite extra virgin olive oil
squeeze of lemon
1. Combine all the ingredients except lemon in the food processor, adding the evoo as you g, enough to make a smooth paste. Finish with a squeeze of lemon. You can also do it by hand if you're enthusiastic.
2. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days if submerged under oil, and is brilliant to dress salads or goat's cheese or as the finishing touch to soups/pastas/risotto or just with good bread.
I know they aren't perfectly and beautifully spherical, but they don't have to be; they're rough and homemade and yummy anyway. These aren't the traditional Italian meatballs that everyone associates meatballs with, made with eggs and breadcrumbs and slowly simmered in tomato sauce; think Indian kofta meatballs, bound instead with chickpea flour and with a hint of aromatic cumin. Cumin and mint go really well together, I first tried this combination with fresh peas; it was a total revelation, and I now find it almost natural to reach for cumin when I use mint. I really liked the tangy heat that mustard added, so now I may just add that to the equation too!
Happy St Patrick's Day, and Happy Mothering Sunday too (in Singapore we celebrate Mother's Day in May, but hello mummy anyway if you're reading this) !