I've got another couple of months left on my meat CSA, and I'm debating whether to continue on. I'm all for supporting locally raised meat, but I'm not sure this CSA is the right fit for me. I don't like paying for cuts of meat I wouldn't have chosen (like that chuck steak), and the really good stuff (steaks, bacon, chicken) doesn't come all that often. I plan to explore some other local meat choices before I decide.
One item I wouldn't normally buy but have enjoyed getting is ground lamb. I don't care for lamb recipes that call for mint, so I was delighted to find this recipe from Clotilde Dusoulier:
Lamb and Prune Meatballs
1 lb. ground lamb
12 prunes (now marketed as "dried plums" so people will think they're hip), pitted and finely chopped
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
¼ cup (packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Tbsp (packed) tsp freshly grated and finely minced orange zest (This seemed like way too much, and I'm not nuts about the orange + meat thing, so I reduced it greatly.)
¼ tsp allspice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
2. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of the mixture and roll them into balls between your slightly damp palms. Set aside in a single layer on plates until you’ve used up all the meat.
3. Heat about 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add half of the meatballs in a single layer without crowding. Cook for 8–10 minutes, gently stirring the meatballs around the pan to brown them all over. Set aside on a clean plate and cover with foil while you cook the second batch. Return the first batch to the pan, cover, and reheat for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with tzatziki.
Do you make your own tzatziki? I do, starting with a 16-oz. tub of Fage 0% fat Greek-style yogurt. This stuff is amazing! I used to strain regular plain yogurt overnight, which was a pain in the butt. If you haven't tried Fage (or any other Greek strained yogurt), you're in for a surprise—you'll never believe it is 0% fat. (I used to buy Fage's prepared tzatziki at Trader Joe's, but they don't seem to carry it anymore). Then I grate a few mini-cucumbers (the seedless kind) against the medium holes on my box grater. It turns into a pulpy mess, which is just what you want—you'll end up with about ½ cup, which you mix into the yogurt. Then, depending on how you like it, you'll want to add a few pressed garlic cloves, a couple squirts of fresh lemon juice, some salt, and a couple teaspoons of minced fresh dill. (I have to plant a garden one of these days just so I can snip off a little dill when I need it; I don't use it for anything else, so I always end up buying a whole package and then throwing the rest away.) Mix it all together and taste, adding more salt or dill if needed. I like it very garlicky, but keep in mind that the garlic flavor will intensity after you refrigerate it for a couple of hours.