Lamb is delicious two ways. ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

06 August 2008

Lamb is delicious two ways.

The other day I suddenly ended up at the meat counter getting half a pound of ground lamb. What could happen?

Evidently multiple things could happen.

Lamb stuffed mushrooms or meatballs

ground lamb
olive oil
brown mushrooms
marjoram, thyme, paprika (coriander)
salt, pepper

Peel and mince several cloves of garlic, then throw them in a bowl with ground lamb and a dribble of olive oil. Snap the stems out of as many mushrooms as you want to stuff; I had seven and used them all. Chop the stems up (or, if you only want meatballs, chop the caps too) and add them to the lamb. Then spice with marjoram, thyme, and paprika. I used a pretty large amount of each herb, since they had to stand up to lamb. You could also use oregano instead of marjoram; I don't know about you, but I'm usually out of one or the other. Salt and pepper a little, then mix it all up well with your hands.

At this point you could make all the meat into meatballs, fry them, and eat them. Or you could use it to stuff the mushroom caps, put them in the oven, and eat them. Or you could do what I did and make it both ways.

I was also thinking for a bit about whether to add some coriander. It sounded good, but I didn't want to kill the lamb with overseasoning. That's always hard. So I decided to leave the mushroom meat how it was, and only add coriander when it was time for meatballs. In the end it was really hard to tell the spicing difference, mostly due to the mushroom dominance in one case and the meat dominance in the other.

Stuffed mushrooms: stuff each mushroom cap with meat. Stick them in a pan and put it in a 325F oven. Let the mushrooms cook slowly for about ten or fifteen minutes. Then take them out, check for doneness, and eat them.

Meatballs: form the rest of the meat into little balls with your hands. Make them as small as you can stand, so they'll cook faster and get a proportionally larger crust. Warm a frying pan on medium hot, add a tiny bit of olive oil, and add the meatballs. Flatten them with a spatula and let them cook without moving for five minutes, or until they're crispy and brown on the bottom. Then flip them all over and let them cook another five minutes. Break one in half to make sure it's cooked through, drain the meatballs on a paper towel, and eat them.

I actually let my meatballs cool and put them in the freezer, but whatever.

When the meatballs are done, you'll notice they've given off a lot of fat. There should also be a nice amount of brown crusty business on the surface of the pan. Well! This means you can either make a gravy or a deglaze.

Gravy: Heat up the fat in the pan, add a couple good sprinkles of flour, and mix fiercely until things turn brown and thick. Deglaze: pour off most of the fat, heat the pan, add a splash of dry vermouth or some butter, and scrape all the brown business off the bottom of the pan while everything sizzles. I am not so great at gravies, so of course that's what I made. There was too much fat in the pan, though, so we ended up pulling the thickened gravy to one side and letting the oils run off. Then we dribbled the gravy over my mushrooms, which were out of the oven and ready for dinner.

Then I stuck everything on a plate and added the right amount of vegetables.

The right amount of vegetables: all of them. That's one tomato. It was big.

I ate it all.

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