PHOTOGRAPHY, LAUREN VANDENBROOK
Canadian food phenom Mary Berg is taking the fear out of food prep in her upcoming book, In Mary’s Kitchen (due in October). Mary, who says her kitchen is her happy place, wants to make your kitchen stress-free, too. This delish recipe should do the trick!
CREAMY HARISSA LAMB MEATBALLS
SERVES 4 TO 6
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 shallots, finely diced, divided
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- ⅓ cup fine bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, divided
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or finely chopped walnuts, toasted
- 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley, divided
- 2 tbsp finely chopped mint, divided
- 4 tsp finely chopped oregano, divided
- 1 egg
- 1 can (5 fl oz) tomato paste
- 2 (to 3) tbsp harissa paste
- 1/2 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 1/2 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 4 cups cooked long-grain rice, for serving
Place a large cast-iron skillet or deep sauté pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add half of the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender and lightly golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander and cinnamon, cook for an additional 30 seconds, and then remove the pan from the heat, transfer the shallot mixture to a large bowl, and set aside to cool completely.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs with 1/4 cup of the wine and set aside to allow the bread crumbs to hydrate, about 10 minutes
When the shallot mixture is cool, add the ground lamb and bread crumb mixture, as well as the pine nuts, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, 1 tablespoon of the mint, 2 teaspoons of the oregano, and the egg. Season with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
Using two forks or your fingers almost like rakes, gently and thoroughly mix everything together. Try not to squeeze the mixture together as you mix, or it will result in tough meatballs. Divide the mixture into roughly 20 walnut-size mounds and roll into meatballs. If the mixture sticks to your hands, lightly dampen them with tap water before continuing to form the meatballs.
Turn heat under pan to medium-high; add remaining tablespoon of oil. Sear meatballs, in batches if necessary, until golden brown but not fully cooked, flipping once, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Once browned, set them aside.
Add the remaining shallots to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes to intensify the flavour. Deglaze the pan with the remaining . cup of wine and then stir in the harissa to taste and 1 cup water.
Nestle in the meatballs, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through to 160°F, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the lid and turn off the heat. Spoon a few tablespoons of the hot sauce into the yogurt and whisk to combine. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir in the remaining parsley, mint and oregano, and swirl into the meatballs. Scatter with feta and serve over prepared rice.