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Easter Treat: Persian Lamb Meatball Stew

Easter is a time Swedes reveal the agrarian strain raised on meat and turnips running through their secular self-image: often celebrating the festive occasion in the countryside by including a traditional dinner of roast lamb with potato gratin and asparagus, or some other suitable side dish.

Yet the custom of eating lamb over Easter around the world is rooted in Jewish Passover observances before the birth of Christianity: started as their God’s catalyst to freeing the Jews from slavery in Egypt.

As it was a religious ritual that a number of Jews in exile in Babylon during the eventual Persian Empire between 538 and 332 BCE had continued to practice, my Easter recipe treat imaginatively entwines the Swedish love for hearty heart-warming Easter lamb, potato and other veggies with the spirit of Easter’s global reach and a few tantalizing ingredients from Persia.

 

Ingredients:

For the 32 meatballs:

Extra virgin olive oil
90 g fine breadcrumbs
500 g lamb, minced
5 mid-sized shallots, peeled and finely diced
2 handfuls fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 handfuls fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp salt
Crack black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp milk

For the stew:

Extra virgin olive oil
8 mid-sized shallots, peeled and halved
7 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2½ cubes beef stock, crumbled
1000 ml boiling water
10 calamansi limes*, juiced
6 tbsp cooking balsamic vinegar
½ tsp ground chilli
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 mid-sized potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, cubed
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
250 g natural yoghurt
1 egg, beaten
1 handful fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp cornstarch

 

Note:

* Native to South East Asia, calamansi limes are sold in Asian grocers. Alternatively, substitute with regular limes, using 1 of these in place of every 2 calamansi limes.




Instructions:

For the meatballs:

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan.
  2. Stir fry the shallots till they are softened.
  3. Mix the cooked shallots with all the other meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Form the mixture into 32 meatballs.
  5. Place the raw meatballs covered in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm them up.
  6. In 3 batches, brown the raw meatballs on all sides in heated olive oil in a frying pan.
  7. Set the browned meatballs aside.

 

For the stew:

  1. Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Fry the garlic, salt, chilli and cinnamon together for a minute.
  3. Pour in the boiling water, lime juice and balsamic vinegar; adding the beef stock crumbs at the same time.
  4. Add the potatoes, carrots and shallots.
  5. Return the cooking liquids to the boil; then simmer for 45 minutes.
  6. Add the meatballs and simmer for an extra 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, thoroughly mix the yoghurt, egg, mint and cornstarch in a bowl.
  8. When the stew has simmered for the additional minutes, add this mixture and the peas.
  9. Stir over low heat until the stew thickens.
  10. Serve immediately with sliced oven-warm baguettes.

Hearty serves for 4




About Wai Lin Coultas

Wai Lin Coultas
Wai Lin is a Singaporean married to an Australian. Besides being mad about putting her own twists and fusions into recipes from diverse continents, she spends her time writing and subbing for an Aussie newspaper as well as covering the contemporary arts scene in Singapore as a gallery docent and online reviewer. She and her hubby love Stockholm's exciting arts and culture, along with the food and wine it offers.

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