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Recipe: Meatball haslama with tahini liaison

 1 hour, 45 minutes. Serves 10

3 to 4 slices (3.2 ounces) stale bread

3/4 pound ground beef

1/3 pound ground lamb

1 egg

1/2 small onion, finely grated

1 to 2 cloves garlic, mashed, plus 2 cloves sliced, divided

1 to 2 bunches dill, stems removed and sprigs chopped (about 1/3 cup), plus 2 to 3 (2/3 ounce) bunches dill, sprigs only, divided

About ¾ bunch parsley (2½ ounces), stems removed and chopped (about ¼ cup)

1 1/2 bunches basil (2/3 ounce), stemmed and leaves chopped (about 1/3 cup)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

About 8½ cups (2 liters) chicken broth, more as desired

Scant 1 cup (7½ ounces, 220 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 pounds boiling potatoes, diced to walnut-sized pieces.

40 pearl onions, peeled

5 egg yolks

Juice and zest of 2 lemons

5 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)

14 ounces Swiss chard, stemmed and leaves torn

1 pound, 1½ ounces (500 grams) sugar snap peas

Sea salt, for garnish

Fresh basil and dill, for garnish

Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish

1. Soak the bread in water until softened, about 5 minutes, then drain, squeezing out any water. Remove the crust and place in a large bowl. Stir in the ground beef, lamb and egg, along with the onion, mashed garlic, chopped dill, parsley and basil, one-half plus one-eighth teaspoon salt and one-quarter teaspoon pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes for the flavors to marry.

2. Form the mixture into golf ball-sized pieces and set aside. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Reduce to a gentle simmer and season to taste as desired.

4. While the broth is coming to a boil, heat a sauté pan, preferably non-stick, over medium-high heat. Add three-fourths cup plus 1½ tablespoons (200 ml) olive oil and sauté the potatoes just until crisp on the outside, 10 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes to the broth to finish cooking until tender. Likewise, sauté the pearl onions until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, then add to the chicken broth to continue cooking until tender.

5. Fry the meatballs, in batches as necessary, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Place the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet and continue cooking in the oven until the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

6. Prepare the liaison: In a deep bowl, blend together the egg yolks, lemon juice and zest, one-fourth teaspoon salt, a few grinds pepper and sliced garlic using an immersion blender. Slowly add the remaining 1½ tablespoons (20 ml) olive oil in a stream, then the remaining dill sprigs and tahini, mixing thoroughly to form a smooth and creamy liaison. Add a ladleful of hot broth to the liaison while beating to temper it. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

7. Add the Swiss chard, sugar snap peas and meatballs to the chicken broth in the pot (add extra chicken broth if needed to cover) and bring to a boil to heat everything through. When the broth is boiling, remove the pot from the heat and gently whisk in the tahini liaison so it does not curdle.

8. Serve immediately in warmed bowls, garnished with a sprinkling of sea salt, fresh basil and dill, and a drizzle of olive oil.

EACH SERVING

Calories 531

Protein 18 grams

Carbohydrates 36 grams

Fiber 5 grams

Fat 36 grams

Saturated fat 7 grams

Cholesterol 144 mg

Sugar 6 grams

Sodium 1,121 mg

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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