This week, Eat Up, Drink Up shared a fond recipe of ours on the blog. Thanks Juanina, I think you’re right, Athens is full of lucky dawgs.
“I discovered this dish on a trip the Middle East and instantly fell in love. I love the savory spice of the lamb with a touch of sweetness from the cherries. About 20 miles south of Athens, the Stewart’s of World Shepherd Lamb Project are raising beautiful lamb in pristine meadows. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful supplier of lamb on our doorstep.” - Chef Peter Dale
Lamb Meatballs with a Dried Cherry Sauce
2 c dried sour cherries
2 c warm water
2 lbs marbled boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of sliver skin and gristle, meat and fat finely ground (or use ground lamb from your butcher)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ c plus 1 T vegetable oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 T flat-leaf parsley leaves
cinnamon to taste
Aleppo pepper to taste (optional)
In a bowl, soak the dried cherries in the water until softened, about 30 minutes. In a large bowl, spread the lamb in an even layer. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, allspice, 2 ½ teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Sprinkle the spices over the lamb and knead them in. Form the lamb into ¾ -inch meatballs; you should have about 60. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook over high heat, shaking the pan, until lightly browned outside and rare in the center, about 4 minutes. Drain well.
In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 12 minutes. Add the cherries and their soaking liquid and the lemon juice and simmer over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs and any accumulated juices and simmer over low heat until they are slightly pink inside and the sauce has reduced slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the parsley and serve with pita.