I really don't make meatballs very much, but there was that Spanish Meatball Soup recently, and I've had my eye on this recipe for a long time! (I guess I'm just attracted to exotic meatball recipes from other countries, lol.) Anyway, I'm glad I finally took the time to make these Lebanese meatballs, because they were so good! I loved the rice too- a nice, buttery Basmati. I loved the mix of spices in them (cinnamon and allspice), and the carmelized onions and the pine nuts.
You must make the meatballs tiny; the size of marbles. Just allot yourself some time for this part; it is fairly easy, just time-consuming. The kids (all of them) loved this dish and especially loved how small the meatballs were.
After making these, I realized the recipe called for beef and not ground beef, like I had thought; however, I did use ground beef and it turned out well.
This recipe comes from the blog Taste of Beirut; I have a lot more recipes from that blog bookmarked to make; everything looks so good! It is a joy to look at. :)
Lebanese Meatballs (Dawood Basha)
slightly adapted from Taste of Beirut
1 small onion+ 2 large onions
1 egg yolk (optional)
1/3 cup of pine nuts
3 tbsp. of tomato paste
2 cups of beef stock or chicken stock
1 1/4 cup of Basmati rice
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tbsp. of butter (for the rice)
Spices: 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. of allspice or 1 1/2 tsp. of seven-spice
1. Soak the rice in warm water with a dash of salt for 30 minutes or longer (after rinsing it a few times under running water)
2. Chop the small onion and douse it in salt and let it spit out its water for a few minutes. Place the meat in the food processor, add the spices, egg yolk, drained onion and process until smooth. Form marble-sized balls and either bake them in the oven for 5 minutes at 350F or pan-fry them. (I baked them. And.... I made the meatballs ahead of time to cut down on prep time closer to dinner. I formed the meatballs and placed them onto a foil-lined baking sheet (I lightly greased the foil) and stuck it in the fridge-covered w/plastic wrap. When ready to bake, just heat the oven and bake them! Or, pan-fry in hot oil when ready).
3. Slice the large onions in rings and pan-fry them in some olive oil until translucent and golden; add the meatballs and 2 cups of beef stock along with the tomato paste (if desired). Let the mixture simmer gently for 25 minutes until the liquid is reduced and thickened and the meatballs are thoroughly cooked.
4. Pan-fry some pine nuts in a little butter and add to the meatballs at the end.
5. Drain the rice and boil in several cups of water till tender. Drain and rinse the rice. Place 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan and let the butter melt, add 1/4 cup of water to the butter. Place the rice over the butter and water and with the handle of a wooden spoon, dig holes in the rice in 3 places; cover the pan and let the rice steam for 30 minutes (my water was all gone in about 10 minutes, so I just took it off the stove then), first on medium-high heat, then on very low heat. Uncover after 30 minutes to check and add more butter to the rice if desired. Serve with the meatballs.
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