Hi. Can we get on the same page about something? Sometimes I just want to post a recipe, with the implied imperative: you should make this! Sometimes there isn’t much else to say. Cool?
(Okay, but I will say that making your own pita to serve with this is fun. I got a real thrill out of watching them puff up like this, and then deflate. Delicious.)
Chile-Cumin Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt and Cucumber (recipe adapted (to simplify) from Seamus Mullen via Bon Appetit)
- 3 pasilla chiles, seeds removed, chopped
- 1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- ¼ cup Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- Kosher salt
Meatballs and Assembly
- ¼ small onion, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (plus extra for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dry)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
- 1 large egg
- 1¼ pounds ground lamb
- 1 tablespoon rice flour or all-purpose flour
- 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced and tossed with some lemon juice, olive oil, and salt
- ½ cup plain sheep’s-milk or cow’s whole-milk yogurt (I like to add some salt and a minced clove of garlic to the yogurt)
- Crushed red pepper flakes
Toast chiles, red pepper flakes, and cumin seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and cumin seeds are golden, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Working in batches, finely grind in a spice mill, then transfer to a blender.
Add vinegar, paprika, and garlic to blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, gradually stream in oil and blend until combined. Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt.
Chile sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Meatballs and Assembly
Pulse onion, chopped garlic, parsley, oregano, sage, fennel seeds, coriander, cumin, and 1 tablespoon salt in a food processor, scraping down sides as needed, until finely chopped. Add egg, lamb, and flour and pulse until evenly combined. Form lamb mixture into 1 ½” balls.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Working in 2 batches and adding another 1 Tbsp. oil to skillet if needed, cook meatballs, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides and cooked through, 5–8 minutes. Transfer meatballs to paper towels to drain.
Transfer all meatballs to bowl with chile sauce and toss to coat.
Spoon yogurt into bowls. Evenly divide meatballs among bowls; top with dressed cucumber and parsley and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
This becomes a meal if you serve it with some pita, and maybe a bowl of hummus.