When I was 13 years old I could not WAIT to turn 18. It took forever, but as you may have noticed, I made it. Now that I feel like setting the brakes on time, days pass flying by, turn into weeks, months, so here we are at the end of May, and I find myself with quite a few years added to those eighteen. Unreal. Anyway, the last Monday of May brings with it the formidable joy of Reveal Day from The Secret Recipe Club. If you don’t already know about it, a food blogger is paired with another one in secret, has about a month to pick a recipe and cook from it, then the whole group blogs about their chosen dish at the exact same time. Nothing is cooler than this, you must admit. I was paired this month with Life on Food, hosted by Emily, a 31-year-old woman with stunning blue eyes and a food blog that is a stalker’s dream! She’s been blogging since 2008, and her index of recipes is quite extensive. At first I decided to make something sweet, and almost settled on her Blackberry Oat Muffins. But then, I flirted with Carrot Cake Pancakes and with Pistachio Dark Chocolate Toffee. Not sure what happened to my sweet tooth, but the outcome was nevertheless perfect: a fantastic dish of juicy meatballs laying on top of toasted orzo. Life on Food means life is good!
LAMB MEATBALLS WITH TOASTED ORZO
(slightly modified from Life on Food)
1 quart chicken stock
2 slices white bread, crusts trimmed
Milk, for soaking
1 pound ground lamb
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced, plus 2 tsp zest
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
olive oil, for drizzling
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup orzo
3 cups fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Heat the oven to 400 degrees . In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken stock over low heat; keep warm. In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk.
In a large bowl, combine the lamb and egg. Wring out any excess milk from the soaked bread and crumble the bread into the meat. Stir in 1/4 cup parsley, onion, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Drizzle with olive oil; mix. Roll the mixture into 20 meatballs and arrange on a nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until browned, 15 to 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in a few ladles of the warm stock and allow it to absorb before adding more. Keep adding stock a little at a time and cook until the orzo is al dente.
Stir in the spinach to heat through in the last-minute of cooking. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and feta. Serve the orzo in shallow bowls. Top with the meatballs and remaining 1/4 cup parsley.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: In the opening paragraph of her post on this recipe, Emily says… I plan my meals, snacks, grocery lists days in advance. I don’t want to be unprepared. Currently I have only about 2 cups worth of flour. I want to make muffins that require 3 cups. I am stressed. That gave me such a big smile, because I am exactly the same way. With the added quirk of often forgetting what I have hidden deep inside in the pantry, so I “think” I have only a cup of flour, but two unopened bags will be found when I bring yet another from the store. I never fail to amaze myself.
This was a great meal, my main change was to use a gluten-free bread which I had in the freezer begging to be used up. The bread was made with almond flour and some ground nuts, I thought it would go nicely with the lamb meatballs, and indeed it worked well. The toasted orzo was super creamy, more like a risotto with all the starch of the pasta as part of the sauce. It did not take that long to cook, we like our orzo very al dente.
Emily, I hope you had a great time with your assignment! And, as usual, I invite my readers to go poke a blue frog. Said frog will take you to a collection of goodies made by my fellow friends on The Secret Recipe Club for today’s reveal day…
ONE YEAR AGO: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
TWO YEARS AGO: Penne with Trapanese Pesto
THREE YEARS AGO: Superman
FOUR YEARS AGO: Spring Pasta
FIVE YEARS AGO: Ice Cream Melts for Mango