Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Boulettes D'Agneau Aux Pruneaux ("American" Version)

One of my favorite parts of getting into the blog scene for myself is the spontaneous collaborative efforts that start to happen over time. Miss Scarlett, for instance, has already inspired one of my recent posts but she has now done it again. Her adaptation for Boulettes D'Agneau Aux Pruneaux (Lamb & Fruit Spiced Meatballs), originally by Clotilde Desoulier of Chocolate & Zucchini, got my mouth watering and my mind wandering.

MS made it her own by using meats other than lamb, thereby creating little mixed meatbombs to mingle with the amazing flavors in the original recipe (orange zest, fresh parsley, fruit, North African spices, garlic, etc.). I love both recipes but when I got to Whole Foods (coupons in hand) I thought I could it put my own monogram on it. Take a French-Moroccan recipe, once removed, and add a little US of A while maintaining the integrity of the initial conception. The secret would still have to be in the meat ( you say it and try avoiding any thought of Hannibal, Idgie and/or Mr. Todd...Gew).

Got it. Nothing says American like bison :) And it's a good bit leaner than ground beef! 1/2 pound please! Next...I'm gonna bring the lamb back. I love lamb, I know that's what the original calls for and (price check)...Not bad. 3/4 lb please! That leaves one more. I'd hoped for turkey because I know it makes good meatballs (and interesting evenings) but alas, no such luck at WF. Ground chicken it is. All lean, all fresh and I think I've kept the melting pot thing going:)

Now to get started...

3/4 lb. Lean Ground Lamb
1/2 lb. Lean Ground Bison
1/2 lb. Ground Chicken
24 good-quality prunes/dried plums, pitted and roughly chopped
3-4 small shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus 2 TB for dip
2 tbs. freshly grated orange zest (approx 2 oranges-worth)
1/2 tsp. of All-spice (I used a combination of equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves)
1/4 tsp. Ground Coriander
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbs. olive oil, plus 1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup 2% Fage Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
*Good cooking music courtesy of Yael Naim & Carla Bruni (France's First Femme?)

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, prunes, shallots, garlic, parsley, orange zest, spices, eggs, 2 tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix will with your hands. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

2. Remove bowl from fridge. Wash hands well and keep them damp. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of the mixture and roll into balls between your palms*. Set aside in a single layer on plates until you've made as much as you plan on cooking.

3. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a single layer of meatballs without crowding the pan. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring the meatballs gently so they are browned all over. Set aside on a clean plate and cover with foil while you work on the rest.

4. Made a quick dip by mixing the 2 TB of chopped parsley into yogurt along with fresh lemon juice and a little fleur de sel.I struck it lucky and still had whole wheat couscous leftover from last night's dinner so I pulled that out, warmed it up and plated. Delicious. Seriously...totally different and DELICIOUS. I am using my leftover meat mix for when the colleagues are over on Saturday evening.

TKTC Notes:
1) I need a zester. I was using the lowest setting on a 4-sided grater and chewed up the side of my hand in the process. Funny how I got a trial issue of Cooks Illustrated in the mail yesterday, offering a free zester with subscription. Susie- were you the one talking about CI? And how did they know?!

2) Next time I will break out the food processor on the pruneaux. They're sticky and thus kind've a pain to chop. Even with my L'Economie knives which cut anything like its room temp. butter.

3) I will also be inviting friends for dinner next time as this one is ready to be shared. Chester got some frozen soup yesterday (which he promptly ate for breakfast) and I am not above running a messy test kitchen.

Going to bed with a smile: Happy moment for the day was looking at my items on the conveyor belt at the grocery store. All fresh, organic-ish and healthy. Hyacinth in photo also courtesy of WF and contributing to how good my apartment smells/feels at the moment. I 've got a fresh lb of Peet's French Roast and a workout with Chester to look forward to in the very early AM and thus...I am off.


Anonymous said...

Lamb and bison? sheer genious at work. beautifully done, I'm hooked and now a regular reader.

-Danielle at 330 w. diversey.

d said...

TKTC, i feel like i just ate dinner with you. delicious.

see you soon.

Shanti said...

oh my god. you are amazing. why why why did i have to find you almost a year after i moved away? p.s. i'm going to keep complaining about this until i move back. haha

Anonymous said...

Your blog makes me so hungry and so jealous because there's no way I could ever cook something so delicious haha!

If you need another test subject besides D, I'm more than willing to eat!

ToKissTheCook said...

Danielle: Welcome! And thanks! I wish I could claim the genius but I think most of that belongs to Clotilde:) You cook, I take it?

D: You really could have. It's going to snow tonight and I'm trying to decide if I feel like cooking. Let me know if you're up for Smoke Daddy

Shanti: Hahaha! Once you find a job here and move back, you shall be coming for dinner!

FF: Chop items, Dump meat in bowl (straight from packages), Mush, Put in Fridge, Roll into balls and Cook through. TA-DA! You can totally do this. You take apart cadavers ...this is sooo much wussier!

Jones said...

I got a cuisinart for christmas (still in the box, obvi) -- but I'll bring it over sometime if you cook for me. Or maybe you already have a cuisinart - then you can still cook for me. ha.

Anonymous said...

Oh rejoice! I'm soooo glad you liked them. And look at you workin' your own crazy meatbomb combo. Love it. Bring it. Work it. Bison didn't even cross my mind.
Totally second your suggestion on letting the Cuisinart deal with the prunes. Those little boogers were slippery.
It's amazing that I was so imtimidated by this recipe (WHY?!), but once I took that first bite, I kicked myself for not trying them sooner. They are ABSOLUTELY company-worthy. Totally not what people expect when you say, "Meatballs."

Susie said...

YES, Cook's Illustrated is the best magazine everrr. And a free zester?? Hell yes, you have to subscribe!

And your dinner looks amazinggg. I might just have to try that out.

Anonymous said...

I would manage to screw it up some how. I can burn soup.