I came across this recipe on the Food52 website and it caught my eye. Lamb is my favorite meat and we eat a lot of it in our house. Don’t get put-off by the seemingly long list of ingredients. This recipe came together fairly quickly although I did make some modifications from the original. I also added some Basmati rice to make what I considered a satisfying meal. If you prefer to simply serve it with a good pita or naan that would also work. Clean-up was minimal since the lamb and cauliflower cook on the same pan, lined with aluminum foil. And, if like me, you do a lot of Middle Eastern and Indian cooking, you should have the spices, tahini and pomegranate molasses on hand. The tahini-yogurt sauce makes more than you will need, but it is wonderful with any grilled or roasted meat or vegetables and thinned further can be used as a salad dressing.
Yield: 4 servings
For lamb meatballs
1.5 pounds ground lamb
1 teaspoon each: Aleppo pepper, ground cumin, fennel seed, Kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1.5 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (2% or full-fat only please)
2 teaspoons garlic cloves, minced or crushed
3-4 Tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
Olive oil or Grapeseed oil for greasing the pan
1 large head of cauliflower (about 2.5 pounds), cut or broken into small florets
About 3 Tablespoons EVOO
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses (available online and in Middle Eastern grocery stores)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt or more to taste
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
For Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup tahini
3 Tablespoons Greek yogurt (2% or full-fat)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Kosher salt and Aleppo pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Tap water for thinning the sauce (How much you use will depend on the tahini that you are using and your own personal taste as to how thin you like your sauce. Start with about 1/2 cup. The sauce will also thicken a bit over time so if you make this ahead, you may add more water before serving.)
2 Tablespoons of pomegranate arils (that’s the good stuff!)
1/4 chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for serving
- Heat broiler and place rack towards the top of your oven. If you don’t have a broiler, you can heat your oven to 425 degrees F. and it should still be fine. Line a large rimmed pan with heavy duty aluminum foil – unless you love doing dishes! Drizzle the foil with the oil.
- In a large glass or stainless steel bowl (I always use these when dealing with raw meat.) combine all of the ingredients for the lamb meatballs with the exception of the oil. Use your hands to combine everything. Then shape the meatballs, using about 2 Tablespoons of mixture at a time. Place the meatballs on the greased pan. Gently roll the balls to lightly coat with the oil. Broil the meatballs, turning once, until they are browned and cooked through. This will depend on the temperature you use and the individuality of your oven. They should take about 10 minutes. Mine took a bit longer.
- While the meatballs are cooking, toss the cauliflower with the flavorings and oil and set aside.
- Remove the cooked meatballs to a platter that has cooked, hot Basmati rice on it (if using). Cover the platter with foil to keep hot while you cook the cauliflower.
- Pour the cauliflower in a single layer onto the same pan, in the juices left behind from the lamb meatballs. Return to the broiler and cook for between 6-10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and has begun to brown.
- While the cauliflower cooks (although this can easily be made ahead and refrigerated) mix together the ingredients for the tahini yogurt sauce. Be sure to stir the tahini well before adding anything else to it. I find a wire whisk works best.
- When the cauliflower is cooked, add it to the platter with lamb meatballs and rice. Sprinkle the parsley or cilantro and the pomegranate arils on top and serve the sauce on the side.