Grass-grazed Lamb Meatballs with Fennel Sauce
Grass grazed ground lamb creates a flavor canvas for the palette of plentiful vegetal pleasures from nature. To make these luscious gluten free lamb meatballs tender and moist, I soak pulverized dried Porcini mushrooms in beaten egg to replace the usual breadcrumbs. Adding to the richness of flavor, texture and creamy experience of the dish, is the use of tons of fennel root, replacing celery in the Mirepiox trio, which begins the satiny sauce preparation.
To make this sensational savory dish for yourself, the ingredients and directions, including food styling tips, are as follows:
1 pound of ground lamb - grass-grazed
½ cup of rendered duck, or other, fat for browning meatballs (or use coconut oil)
¼ cup dried Porcini mushrooms – pulverized
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 large egg – free range, well beaten
1 medium shallot – minced
1 teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of coriander – ground
¼ teaspoon of allspice – ground
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg – ground
¼ teaspoon of turmeric – ground
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper – ground
¼ teaspoon of white pepper – finely ground
Soak the pulverized Porcini in the beaten egg for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, slowly caramelize the shallots with the salt and spices in the olive oil, stirring frequently. ~15 min
In a 2 Quart bowl, blend the porcini/egg and the cooled cooked shallot/spice mixtures.
With clean hands, thoroughly knead the ground lamb into the wet mix.
Portion the meatballs with a 1½ inch release style scooper, onto a wax paper lined sheet pan.
With wet hands, roll the portions into rounded balls. Refrigerate for 30 minute or more to firm before browning.
Make the sauce while they are chilling.
Brown the meatballs all over, in your favorite fat. Drain and add them to the sauce as they finish.
Cook the meatballs in the simmering sauce for about 15 minutes.
For best results, let the finished recipe cool and refrigerate covered overnight to meld the flavors.
Fennel Carrot Shallot Mushroom Sauce Ingredients
1 pint of broth, your choice of what you have on hand - be ware of salt!
1 cup of fresh fennel bulb - finely sliced
1 cup of Vidalia onion – medium chopped
1 cup of shallots - thinly sliced
1 cup of carrots - chopped
1 cup of Baby Bella mushrooms (Crimini) - sliced
¼ cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of dried oregano, marjoram or savory
1 teaspoon of dried or fresh parsley
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of white pepper – finely ground
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper – finely ground
½ teaspoon of black pepper – medium or fine grind
Fennel Carrot Shallot Mushroom Sauce Directions
In a large lidded skillet, sauté the fennel and onions in the olive oil on medium low heat until softened and nearly clear. Add the shallots and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the carrots and mushrooms and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
Make a well in the center of the pan to make a space for the tomato paste. Spoon the paste into place and let it cook for a few minute while stirring to prevent scorching. Stir the cooked paste into the rest of the pan mixture.
Add the broth and vinegar into the pan and stir everything together. Bring the pan to a boil then reduce the heat so the contents simmer.
Add the meatballs as they are browned and slightly drained.
Cook the meatballs in the sauce for about 15 minutes.
For best results, let the pan cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight to meld the flavors.
Serve reheated, garnished with chopped fresh parsley