Sometimes you get recipes from a cookbook, or online, or from a friend. This recipe for spinach lamb meatballs started in a cookbook in NY, bounced to the US West coast, and then back again to NY. It was a cross-country collaboration!
Here’s what happened. A friend had some ground lamb and was looking for dinner ideas.I mentioned a spinach lamb meatball recipe I had and gave her the ingredients.
She wanted to serve her meatballs with marinara sauce, so I suggested she might want to change it around a bit (the original recipe called for nutmeg, which wasn’t going to work with marinara sauce). Also, while the recipe I had fit her requirements, it was, honestly, a bit bland, and needed more punch.
She added her own spin, then told me what she did. I made a few more changes, and ended up with this recipe.
Red wine vinegar stands up to the lamb’s assertive flavor, while cumin adds a warm, nutty, slightly spicy bite. The spinach adds color, and those all important vitamins and iron too.
It’s pretty easy to put together too. First, you sweat the onions (cook them over low heat for a few minutes, until they become transparent). Then wash and dry the spinach (this is important, otherwise the meatballs will be too moist and won’t hold together). The rest is simply measuring, mixing, and rolling.
I usually plan my meals, not precisely, but generally write down six or seven entrees and build from there. But, I had some ground lamb in the freezer and didn’t quite know what to do with it. My first thought was shepherd’s pie.But that requires first making mashed potatoes and then making the meat mixture. Too much work.Then I dug into my bookmarks and found a recipe for keema (or kima).She says it’s her most requested recipe! Keema is, roughly speaking, Pakistani shepherd’s pie (or maybe cottage pie, since the original is made with beef). It’s got ground meat, potatoes, and some veggies.And, best of all it only requires one pot!That’s my kind of cooking.
I’ve seen this spelled keema, and kima or called keema aloo (for the potatoes).However you spell it, you get a savory, not too spicy all-in-one pot meal. A meal which is ready in about half an hour too.
I used ground lamb, but ground beef is fine if that’s what you have.You could probably even make it with ground turkey if you wanted to. Chicken would probably be a bit bland.
Don’t be put off by the ingredients list. It’s mostly just adding small amounts of spices into the pan. You don’t even really have to measure.Just shake the jars a couple of times (if you have the kind with the small holes in the lids) or grab a pinch.
This is generally made with peas, but I didn’t have any so I tossed in some frozen broccoli instead. You could use the peas or whatever other veggies you have such as: cauliflower, cabbage, or peppers. I used Yukon gold potatoes, but regular russet potatoes will work too. You could even substitute sweet potatoes if you like.
As written, this recipe is relatively mild. If you want more heat, increase the curry, and/or add some fresh hot peppers or red pepper flakes.
If you want to go all out with the starch, you can serve this with rice or naan.I just made a side salad (trying to get my veggies in!).
These Turkish lamb burgers are flavorful, filling, and just a little bit messy, so keep plenty of napkins handy. It’s worth the mess though. The burgers are rich from lamb, slightly salty from the feta and spicy/warm from cumin and garlic. Adding mint to both the burgers and the yogurt cucumber sauce adds a fresh, cool flavor to balance out the spices.
I adapted this recipe from one I found online so long ago I can’t remember where I found it. It does require a bit of pre-planning, since the meat mixture has to sit for a while for the flavors to blend. So, it’s probably best for a weekend, rather than a Tuesday dinner. However, once that’s done, the rest of the recipe comes together pretty quickly. And, it’s practically a meal all by itself.
Make the meat mixture for the burgers first, let it sit overnight or a few hours in the fridge, and then make the cucumber yogurt sauce while the burgers are cooking.
I did make this for two servings, rather than one, because half an egg isn’t so bad, but a quarter of an egg is ridiculous, even for me.
How to get half an egg, you ask? What you do is break the egg, beat it lightly, and then pour half of it out into a separate container. You should end up with about 3 1/4 T of egg total. Use half that for the burgers, or approximately 1 2/3 T (5 teaspoons). Save the rest of the egg to make a cherry tomato basil frittata or a spinach and feta omelette in a day or two. Don’t worry if it’s not exact, we’re not baking!
I broiled the burgers in my toaster oven, and put the pita on top for a minute or so to warm it up. If you have a grill, you could use that instead.
Serve the burgers in pita bread topped with the yogurt dill sauce, then add garnishes to suit your taste.
Rich, savory and full of sweet/salty and warm spices, plus a jolt of mint to cool it all down.
1/2 lb. ground lamb
2 1/2 T (which is 7 1/2 tsp) bread crumbs
1/2 egg, beaten lightly
1/3 C onion, minced
1/2 tsp garlic, minced (about one small clove)
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 tsp dried oregano
1 T fresh mint
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp lemon juice
generous pinch salt
generous pinch pepper
Yogurt Dill Sauce
1/3 C Greek yogurt
1/3 C diced cucumber
1/3 tsp dried dill
2/3 tsp fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste
Get a medium size bowl and add all the burger ingredients together. Mix it all thoroughly. It's best to use your hands for this (like a meatloaf) until all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
Refrigerate the mixture for a few hours, or overnight for better flavor.
Preheat your toaster oven to broil.
Separate the meat mixture into two patties and brush lightly with olive oil on both sides.
Cook for about 4 minutes, turn patties over, and then cook another 4 minutes until lamb is medium. When the burgers are nearly done (about 7 minutes in), put the pitas on top of the hot toaster oven to warm.
Yogurt Cucumber Sauce
While the lamb is cooking, make the sauce by combining all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Place the burgers in the pita and top with the sauce.
Note that the prep and cooking time are short, but you'll need inactive time of a few hours. If you have a grill, you can use that to cook the burgers, rather than the toaster oven.
Turkish Lamb Burgers Substitutions and Variations
Garnish with some extra crumbled feta cheese
Top with thinly sliced red onions
Add sliced tomatoes and extra chopped cucumber on top of your lamb burger
Make the burgers with half lamb and half ground turkey (use dark meat if you can find it); or if you don’t like lamb, just use the turkey
I spotted this wonderful merguez sausage (spicy sausage made with lamb) while shopping online and then went looking for some ideas on what to do with it. I found a lamb merguez tagine recipe but I had no squash, no chickpeas and no couscous (also no tagine, but a saucepan fixed that).Time to adapt and improvise! I’m calling it lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetables.
First I replaced the couscous with rice.Then, instead of squash or zucchini (which I didn’t have, and didn’t think ideal with the lamb anyway) I used the rest of a white eggplant I already had at hand. I am a firm believer in using what you have whenever possible (especially with all those steps, I’m not going up and down for one can or two items)!
The result was this delicious lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetables. It only takes about 35 or 40 minutes to cook. Plus, I reduced the original three pots to only two (one for the rice and another for the lamb and veggies). I wasn’t going to clean three pots!Not to mention, the ingredients are now in the order you use them.
If you’re not familiar with merguez sausage, it’s a bit spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. It’s flavored with chili peppers and cumin, but that’s tempered by the cinnamon, coriander, onions, and garlic, which mellow as you simmer them. The richness of the eggplant and the sweet carrots also make an excellent foil for the spicy lamb.
A hint of Morocco without leaving your kitchen. The colorful vegetables and warm spices make a wonderful foil for the spicy lamb sausage.
1/4 C rice
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
1 T olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch coriander
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 pinch turmeric
1 generous squeeze lemon juice (about 1 tsp)
4-5 green olives
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 onion, sliced
1 lamb Merguez sausage, cut in chunks
1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 tsp flour
1 carrot, peeled and cut in chunks
1/4 cup eggplant, cut in chunks
1 heaping T raisins
First get the rice started. Boil the water first, then add the rice.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the cinnamon, coriander, paprika, cumin, and turmeric. Let the mixture cook for a few seconds.
Add the lemon juice, fennel, garlic, onion, and green olives, and cook on medium, about 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the sausage to the pot, and cook 5 minutes to brown it. Mix in the flour and then add the chicken broth. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes until it starts to simmer (you’ll see bubbling).
Add the carrots, eggplant, and raisins and cook for 15-20 minutes until the carrots are soft, the eggplant browns, and the sausage is fully cooked through.
Serve over the rice.
If you are using brown rice, it will take about 40 minutes to cook once the water boils. White rice needs about 18 minutes. Stir the rice when you add it to the boiling water, and then again right before serving. This will make it fluffier.
Lamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables Substitutions and Variations
If you have the chickpeas, add them to the dish
Or substitute some lentils for the eggplant
Try it with couscous instead of the rice
Or serve it over some pasta
If you can’t find the merguez, you can approximate the flavor by using ground lamb, increasing the garlic, cumin, and coriander and adding some harissa or sriracha or chili garlic sauce for kick
Hot. Cold. Then hot again. Anyone else getting whiplash from this weather? The calendar says fall, but the thermometer reads summer. To beat the heat, try a leftover roast lamb eggplant spinach salad. You can use leftover lamb from my Greek lamb breast recipe, or just broil a lamb chop.
This salad is a festival of tastes, textures, and colors. You get luscious lamb topped with tender golden-brown eggplant over earthy spinach, refreshing crisp cucumbers, and sweet tomatoes. Then the whole thing is finished with a rich garlicky lemon mayonnaise.
I’ve sauteed the eggplant in a skillet (because I didn’t want to heat up the oven), but you can grill it if you prefer, or bake it in the oven (400 degrees for about 20 minutes). Then just add spinach and your favorite salad ingredients.
I have adapted this from a Silver Palate cookbook recipe which called for pignoli nuts and olives. I had neither, so I filled in with cucumber and tomato. You could also put in mushrooms, sprouts, experiment with different kinds of olives, or top it with toasted nuts. See the “substitutions” section below for more ideas.
You can either make the mayonnaise from scratch (homemade mayonnaise is divine, just remember to use it up quickly), or just dress up some store-bought mayonnaise with a bit of garlic and lemon juice. I like to “freshen” up commercially made mayo with lemon and olive oil whenever I use it. It tastes more like homemade that way.
Have this for a quick dinner, or make it for lunch. I think of it as an entree salad; it works for any time you want something filling without a lot of fussing (or waiting).
A great way to use up leftover lamb or get a hearty meal without a lot of cooking. This works for dinner or for lunch.
1/4 lb. or so leftover roast lamb (or one lamb chop, broiled), cut into cubes
5-6 slices eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1T olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 cups spinach, washed
1/2 beefsteak tomato, cut in wedges (or 4-6 cherry tomatoes)
sliced cucumber (about 1/4 cup)
Lemon Garlic Mayonnaise Dressing
1 small clove garlic, mashed
pinch kosher salt
2 T mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
If using pre-cooked lamb, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. If you are cooking a lamb chop, broil it for 7-8 minutes (turning once) and let cool while you prepare the eggplant.
Spread the eggplant out on a colander or a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 15 minutes and then rinse.
Dry off the eggplant with a paper towel.
Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the eggplant slices. Saute until the eggplant turns golden brown.
Add the spinach, eggplant, and lamb to a medium-size bowl.
Add the cucumber and tomatoes.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine. Taste and correct seasoning and/or add more lemon juice if necessary.
Pour dressing over the salad.
Leftover Roast Lamb Eggplant Spinach Salad Substitutions and Variations
Top with pignoli nuts, chopped almonds, or chopped walnuts
Add 1/4 C feta cheese and some mint
Add some sliced apples
Make some orzo and add that to the salad
Try different veggies like zucchini, bell pepper or squash
Great for a cold weekend, this Greek lamb breast recipe requires very little active preparation time. Just make the marinade, zip it in a bag, and let it sit.
The longer this marinates the better. You can leave it for an hour (if you don’t have lots of time), but it’s better overnight, or all day while you do something else.
I let this sit in the fridge for two days (because I unexpectedly ate out), and it was divine.
It cooks slowly in a low oven, just enough to heat the house a bit, but no so much that you’ll overheat yourself (this is, incidentally also a great way to cook roast beef, low and slow).
The recipe is adapted slightly from a recipe I found on Epicurious. That was for lamb chops or a leg of lamb. I reduced that marinade recipe and substituted the NY Times’ lamb riblet slow roasting technique instead of grilling.
If you don’t have breast of lamb, you can use a lamb chop instead. Just let it marinate, then broil the chop 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how thick it is.
This pan is shallower than most roasting pans, which means it’s easier to remove your food. The relatively small size makes it a great option for smaller portions (and smaller ovens). It’s also great for pan pizza for one (the pizza fits perfectly).
While I don’t usually like nonstick surfaces, this one has held up nicely since I bought it two years ago. I haven’t used the glass cover with the pan, but fits over my other pots and pans (so I can see what’s cooking).
The first time I made this Moroccan lamb stew I made a big pot of it for Passover. I was tired of the usual brisket and chicken for the holidays. So, mom and I made this instead.
It’s flavored with cinnamon, a touch of ginger, raisins, almonds, and lamb. The lamb is cooked slowly, so it practically melts in your mouth.
While the full recipe is certainly worth making (and then freezing the leftovers), my freezer is tiny and too full of other food to do that right now.
So I “minified” the recipe (from The Book of Jewish Food) and made it for one instead. Many Moroccan recipes call for somewhat exotic ingredients (if you’re a Westerner), such as sumac or ras el hanout. This one doesn’t. It’s made entirely with ingredients that should be in any market. And, once you start it cooking, there’s very little to do.
I have modified it slightly. She calls for honey and more water than I have used. I left out the honey because I felt the raisins and the carrots (my own addition) were sweet enough. I reduced the water, using just enough to soak the saffron. The lamb cooks nicely in its own fat, it doesn’t need the water.
I don’t have a slow cooker, but if you do, you could probably start your stew in the morning and have it ready when you come home from work.
Use a shoulder lamb chop with a round bone as it is easier to cut up. Shoulder cuts are also better for stews and long, slow cooking.
It’s great for a weekend dinner, washed down with some Zinfandel.
Yes, it’s pricey, but it adds a unique flavor and beautiful color. Luckily, Amazon is easier (and likely less expensive and fresher) than the stuff in the supermarket. Soak it first, then mash it with a spoon to release the flavor and color. You only need a little bit and you can use the rest for other dishes.
This book is part cookbook, part history, and part travelogue. There are recipes from places you probably never thought of as “Jewish.” The ingredients aren’t always what you’d expect either. Sure there are recipes for challah, and potato pancakes, and noodle pudding.
But there’s also stuffed zucchini, meatballs in apricot sauce, lamb with artichokes, pita bread, and phyllo pastry filled with pistachios. She gives recipes, as well as a history of the people in each part of the world she covers. It’s like going on vacation, and sometimes traveling back through time, without leaving your couch.
Lamb and lentil soup is rich, hearty, and filling. It’s a great dish for a cold winter’s day. This recipe is for one serving of soup (more on that later).
I had some lamb broth leftover from the lamb breast provencale recipe I posted a few days ago. Since I wasn’t in a particular hurry, and it was chilly, I decided to use it up and make a single serving of lamb and lentil soup. I’d just bought a bag of lentils, and lentils and lamb are a good combination. Since it was an experiment, it was also a good way to test the recipe on a single serving of soup before I made a huge pot of it.
This recipe uses that lamb broth, plus lentils, diced tomatoes and thyme for lots of flavor.
It does take a while to cook, but once you get the ingredients together it’s mostly set it and forget it, so you can start it early and then go do something else while your soup simmers on the stove (and delicious smells start wafting through your home).
Serve with a chunk of crusty bread (to sop up every last drop of soup from the bottom of the the bowl). Since this is “the single serving chef” you can be messy if you want. Nobody will know.
I made this for one because I had one serving’s worth of broth. You can scale up the recipe, make a larger batch, and then freeze it in single serving containers (or save some for a fast lunch another day).
The other nice thing, is that while it does take a while to cook, the prep time is minimal.
Lamb is one of my favorite foods and this lamb breast recipe for one is a great meal for a lazy, cold winter weekend. It cooks slowly and heats up the house nicely. It’s mostly set it and forget it, so you can do other things while dinner cooks (and your home fills with the fragrance of lamb).There’s very little fussing.
I’ve updated and changed the recipe since I first posted this. The original version called for boiling the lamb first, and then roasting it. Great for tenderizing, but it meant an extra pot to clean. And boy, that pot sure got greasy. However, you can then add the bones back, some barley, and veggies and make Scotch broth if you want.
If not, do it the easier way! Yeah easy!
Lamb breast is generally a cheaper cut of meat than lamb chops or a roast. I spotted it on sale at the local supermarket for a mere $3.99 a pound, so I pounced!
This dish was inspired by a Jacques Pepin recipe, but naturally, even with a master chef as a guide, I felt compelled to change it a bit. The original recipe called for vegetable oil, parsley, and bread crumbs.
I’m not a big fan of vegetable oil (olive oil has more flavor, and it fits the dish better, I think). I never have parsley around, but I do have a pot of fresh rosemary, so I used that instead. I didn’t want to bother with fresh bread crumbs, so I used panko.
And, of course, I reduced the original amounts to make it for one person (although, the recipe is so good, you may want to make extra and save it for dinner another day).
One Person Slow Roasted Lamb Breast Provencal Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Lamb breast provencale for one
Three or four ribs from a lamb breast
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C panko crumbs*
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, peeled, and minced
1 T olive oil
Heat the oven to 225 degrees.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper and place in shallow roasting pan.
Put the pan in the oven, and cook for two hours.
While the lamb is roasting, mix the panko, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil in a small bowl.
After two hours, open the oven, take out the lamb, and spread the panko mixture over the top of the ribs with a spoon or basting brush.
Cook for another 30 minutes, or until the bread crumbs turn a light golden color.
You can use oatmeal (ground up or quick cooking) instead of the panko, if you prefer.
Also, if you can't find lamb breast, this will work with lamb chops too. Use a basting brush to coat the lamb chop in the bread crumb mixture. Then heat some olive oil in a skillet. Add the chop and cook two or three minutes per side. Remove the lamb chop and let it rest for five minutes before serving.
It’s much easier to lift the lamb out of the saucepan and remove it from the roasting pan with these tongs. They lock in place for storage, clean easily, and grip tightly. The ends are covered in nylon so they won’t scratch your pans if they’re nonstick.
I just bought this pan to replace one that gave up the ghost. It’s nonstick, not too heavy, and fairly wide and shallow. It’s the perfect size for the lamb breast or several pieces of chicken. The handles do get hot, but with potholders, it’s easy to transfer from the stove to the oven. I also like that it comes with a clear glass lid. I haven’t used it for the pan yet, but it’s great for covering my large frying pan.