A hearty late winter meal with a hint of spring
Lamb meatballs, peas, carrots, and potato wedges, all flavored with fresh thyme, satisfy in winter, taste like spring.
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Lamb Thyme Meatballs with Vegetables
Serves 3 to 4 (see Kitchen Notes)
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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1 pound ground lamb
1 scallion, white and pale green part only, minced
1 rounded tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, divided (or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium potato, about 1/2 pound (I used Yukon Gold)
1-1/2 cups fresh peas (you can substitute frozen – see Kitchen Notes)
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal
1 medium shallot, sliced
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
Break up ground lamb in a large bowl. Add the minced scallion and half the thyme. Season generously with salt and pepper and work the lamb with your hands to combine. Form meatballs of the lamb mixture, about 1-1/4 inches in diameter or so, and place on a large plate. You should get 18 to 20 meatballs from the lamb. Set aside.
Peel the potato. Slice in half lengthwise and cut each half into 4 wedges. Rinse in cold water to remove excess starch and place in a covered, microwave-safe container, still wet. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, until just tender – the tip of a knife blade should pierce potato wedges easily. Let cool until you can handle and blot dry with paper towel. Toss with a drizzle of oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the peas and carrots in a pot of boiling water until just tender, about 15 minutes. If using frozen peas, follow package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Cook the meatballs. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium flame. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and when it starts to shimmer, add the meatballs. Brown, turning a few times, for about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate (the same one you had them on before cooking will do fine). Drain the fat from the skillet and wipe with a paper towel, but do not wash.
Cook the potatoes. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat over medium flame. Add the potato wedges and cook until nicely browned, turning occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate (it can be the meatball plate, if there’s room).
Cook everything all together. Add the shallot to the pan and sauté until it begins to soften, stirring frequently to avoid burning, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining thyme and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add carrots, peas, broth and wine. Scrape up any browned bits and return meatballs and potato wedges to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lamb and potatoes are heated through, about 3 minutes. Divide among shallow bowls or plates and serve.
How many servings? This will easily serve three people. Start with a salad or appetizer and add a generous dessert at the end and you can stretch it to four.
Fresh is best. I’ve been finding pre-shelled fresh peas in the produce section of some supermarkets these days. If you can find them, the flavor and texture really are wonderful. If not, look for the plainest, least messed with frozen peas you can find. No butter, no nothing.
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