Holy schnitzel, it’s been quite the week over here. My husband got an awesome job offer in Florida, so we are packing up our baby & things, and moving in just a few weeks!! Literally will be spending Thanksgiving surrounded by boxes, not food, this year. Good thing Grace isn’t old enough to realize that’s a crummy way to spend a food holiday.
These Greek meatballs are beyond delicious + when paired with roasted grapes and the creamiest parsnip puree – HUBBA, HUBBA!
Greek Meatballs with Roasted Grapes & Parsnip Puree
- 3/4 cup pitted salt-cured black olives or Kalamata olives*
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 cups halved red grapes
- 4 1/2 cups peeled, bite-sized parsnips (about 4 large)
- 1/4 cup homemade broth
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, pulse
pitted olives until pureed. Add lamb, coconut flour
and oregano to the processor and pulse until well combined.
Form 16 golf ball-sized meatballs. Place on baking sheet. Add halved grapes to the same baking sheet and sprinkle with the pinch of sea salt.
Bake for 18 minutes for well-done meatballs. If you would prefer medium-done meatballs, bake for 14 minutes but continue to roast the grapes for the full 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, place parsnips, broth and salt in Instant Pot
. Seal the lid and set Manual Timer to 7 minutes. Once timer elapses, vent the lid. The parsnips should be cooked and have absorbed the broth.
Transfer parsnips to a blender and puree. Add just 1 tablespoon additional broth if the blender needs help getting going for the creamiest puree.
Serve meatballs atop parsnip puree with roasted grapes. A drizzle of balsamic reduction is delicious on this meal!
Even with the boom of American food culture in the past decade (thank you Buzzfeed, Yelp, Instagram, and Food Network), lamb still does not hold a place in our country’s heart like it should. I could pull a Jimmy Fallon and ask 100 random people on the street if they have ever eaten lamb, and I think the majority would say either “Ew no” or “No, but Lamb Chops was my favorite creepy puppet show from the early 90’s.”
Lamb meets my three D criteria: decadent, drool-worthy, and damn tasty. It’s loaded in fat (the healthy omega-3 rich kind thanks to our friends Down Under perpetuation of grassfed animals), flavor, B vitamins, and selenium. All happy, nutritious, inflammation-fighting, and baby-making qualities we look for in our dinner.
I purchased a couple grass-fed bone-in lamb chops from Sprouts this weekend without a plan. I also happened to pick up dried Turkish figs (the big soft light brown ones) and dried cranberries. I had a leftover 1/2 head of cabbage in my fridge that needed to be used up, so I thought why not combine some of my favorite things into one dish. It can’t go wrong. And it certainly didn’t. I’ve spoken before about my introduction into cooking at age 15 spurred by an obsessive tendency to re-read my Food & Wine subscriptions over and over until I picked up on every nuance of a cooking skill I could from each recipe. When I cook for myself and my husband, I often imagine creating a recipe for F&W that would actually make it into their publication. Another recent meal I made would certainly make the cut: chicken thighs cooked using Jacques Pepin’s technique, garnished with lemon juice, fried capers, salt-cured olives, and fresh parsley. My horn is a-tootin’. And I don’t care. It’s my one skill.
This meal would be equally as good for date night, and quite a romantic one at that. There’s something about the rich smell and taste of seared lamb that is intoxicating and reminds me of cozying up in our favorite Chicago restaurant listening to jazz and dining on lamb and filet on a snowy night. One of my favorite memories of the city (which I miss terribly!) from our time there. Instead, I sweated my buns off in my Texas kitchen to prepare this meal for you and me, so I could at least pretend that eating at my countertop alone in silence was just as romantic.
If you enjoy wine, a bright and fruity red would go amazingly well with this meal! Cider lover? Try a sweet and light cider made from organic apples and nothing else.
Restaurant-worthy dinner on your table in 30 minutes!
Spiced Lamb with Caramelized Cabbage, Figs & Cranberries
- 1 1/2 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder chops, 1-inch thick (2 large chops)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus additional to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved
- 3 cups quartered and thinly sliced green cabbage
- 6 dried Turkish figs, quartered
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Remove chops from refrigerator to countertop 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Rub chops on all sides with mixture of sage, salt, garlic, and cinnamon until evenly coated.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
Sear chops for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium doneness. You want a crust on the bottom before you flip. Boneless chops will take shorter to cook; decrease cooking time by 1 minute per side if using boneless.
chops to a plate and rub with the sliced garlic clove on each side. You will see the garlic almost “melt” into the meat. Discard garlic clove. Let lamb
chops rest tented in foil while you prepare the cabbage.
In the same skillet, cook
cabbage in the rendered lamb
fat until caramelized and tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. If not enough fat has been rendered to coat the cabbage, add one tablespoon to the pan prior to adding the cabbage.
Add figs, cranberries and a pinch of sea salt to the pan, cooking for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the figs and cranberries have deepened in color and are tender. Sprinkle lemon juice on top and stir briefly to combine. Remove from heat.
divide cabbage mixture onto two plates and place lamb
chop on top.
I get real excited when I come up with an easy, quick recipe that uses barely any ingredients and is a new, interesting flavor! It’s the holy grail of AIP batch cooking. I brought these on-the-go this weekend – to a show and then also as a pre-5k breakfast. I didn’t want to share them, and I usually love sharing food, so obviously it’s a winning recipe.
This weekend was insanely beautiful. We only get purty weather as often as a hipster turns down a vegan cheez burrito (aka never), so I refused to be inside. The farmer’s market is starting to have a lot more variety, and I get real turned on by varied produce. It doesn’t take much. We went back to the Peruvian rooftop restaurant/bar. I was feeling adventurous and ordered a gin. I had brought my own Kombucha, and I was just going to enjoy it on the rocks, but I decided to go for it.
Well, I only drank 1/2 of the gin and still woke up feeling like butt. And swollen, lethargic, and expressionlss. My body hates alcohol. Like even attempting a smile today is too much work. I would much rather go to bed feeling good and wake up feeling awesome than enjoy the occasional beverage. Maybe later in life when my body isn’t under guerrila attack 24/7. Enough bitching – I’m happy to simply be alive and surrounded by my favorite things, namely my husband, dog, fresh food, and the outdoors. And my-size loaves of meat, but I guess that could be lumped into food.
Peach-Glazed Mini Meatloaves
Makes 10 mini loaves | Ready in 35 minutes
1 lb ground lamb (or beef, if you prefer)
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
½ tsp sea salt
1 ½ cups diced peach
¾ tsp cinnamon
1 T coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take out a regular sized muffin tin.
- Mix together lamb, parsley and sea salt. Divide mixture between 10 regular sized muffin cups. Use your hands to spread the meat evenly into each cup, being sure to leave a shallow bowl in the center for the peach stuffing, about ½ inch deep.
- In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, cook the peaches and cinnamon in the coconut oil for about 6-7 minutes until softened. Use a wooden spoon to mash the peach as it cook down, but be sure to leave some un-mashed chunks for texture.
- Top each meat bowl with the peach stuffing. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the lamb is cooked through and the cups begin to pull away from the edges of the pan. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.