Lamb part II: fake shawarma party ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

10 August 2007

Lamb part II: fake shawarma party

Clearly we needed to rectify the previous not enough yogurt situation. This meant a half hour of wandering around the store wondering what to get. Well, yogurt, obviously, and some kind of food to marinate with said yogurt. So I actually ended up getting lamb twice within a week. This is a startlingly high amount for someone who eats about 75% vegetarian. Fortunately my iron deficiency seems to have actually righted itself via copious meat and dark greens injection, but at the time it was very strong "hmm, fish? Chicken? I could get--oh what the hell, more lamb. More lamb!" and I got half a pound of ground lamb and took it home to make into meatballs.

This time I decided to use spices for shawarma, although I did no meat shaving and ate things as a platter instead of a sandwich. It was really not a shawarma at all; that was just the name on the spice mix. In this case, they consisted of ground bay leaves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander seed, cloves, curry, garlic, black pepper, nutmeg, onion, sumac, saffron and thyme. See, I was smart and saved the back of the packet this time.

Lamb meatballs

ground lamb
plain yogurt
shawarma spices, or whatever you like
olive oil

Get some lamb into a mixing bowl. Mince up some shallot and toss it in. Add a couple big spoonfuls of yogurt and a bunch of shawarma spices, and mix with your hands. GOOPY. Form the mix into meatballs. Mine generally turn out about an inch in diameter. Put the meatballs in the refrigerator to let the flavors mix; leave them there for at least a half hour.

Chop up some parsley and stick it in another cup or so of yogurt; leave it to marinate as well.

Go do something else for an hour.

When you're ready, put on some rice. Heat up your frying pan to medium-high. When it's good and hot, add a little olive oil and swirl around to coat. Then add in your meatballs in a single layer. Flatten them a little with the back of your spatula, and let them sit for at least three or four minutes without moving. Once the undersides are browned, turn them over and brown some more. Continue until the meatballs are browned on all sides. Some fat will render off into the pan; if it's too much for you, spoon some of it off. Don't spoon everything off, though, because you want at least a little fat to coat the rice.

When everything is done, scrape up any pan bits and take the meatballs off the heat. Add the rice and mix it all up. Let things cool slightly, just enough so the steam has had time to subside, then mix in the yogurt. It's important to actually cool things since you don't want curdling dairy solids happening if you can help it. This should be enough time to prevent a huge split.

Serve. You may want more parsley or some lemon juice. You may want more yogurt. You may want some tabbouleh or olives or I don't know what. You especially may want your leftovers wrapped up in some flatbread with cucumber and more yogurt and eaten all contrasty the next day for lunch or breakfast. In this case, you may notice that you're applying it as real shawarma, although it's still not even close to authentic. It is good, however, so who cares?

No comments: