Monday, February 2, 2015

Lamb Meatballs with Zesty Chutney Sauce

Sometimes, you just get sick of chicken. I'm having one of those times.  Superbowl Sunday was bringing another big winter storm, and that calls for a nice, hearty, belly-warming recipe.  But not chicken this time.  I’ve made about 5 versions of chicken soup so far this winter, grilled chicken on salads, frozen chicken strips, frozen chicken entrees.  Enough.

I found this recipe for Meatballs with Chutney Sauce on Cooking Light's website.  It has a 5-star rating, and how can you go wrong with that.  Well, I guess you could, since only 2 people reviewed the recipe.  But they loved it!  Lol

I ran to the supermarket and found ground lamb at Wegman’s.  It’s organic, and they only sell it in 1-lb packages.  I decided to get two, with the thought that if I hate these things, maybe my roommate or coworkers would like them.  So the little modifications I made were to increase the recipe size proportionally. And there was the little mistake with the liquid from the jalapenos....

I got the smallest little can of sliced, pickled jalapeno peppers.  It’s a 4-oz can I found in the Mexican foods section, and is labeled for making nachos.  Don’t toss the liquid—you’ll need it!  And I accidentally poured the amount into the lamb mixture, so was glad to have enough left over for the sauce.

The other prepared item I bought for this recipe was the chutney.  I turned around the jar so you can see how much of it I used.

I’ll admit, as I was browning the meatballs, I was a little nervous.  Lamb is a strong smell as it cooks, and even with my fan on over my stove, the house was full of smokey, lamb-filled air for a little while. But once they cooked in the slow cooker for a couple hours with the sauce, my fears were put to rest.  These meatballs are tasty!

I served my meatballs on top of a bed of whole wheat couscous. But I bet they would also be tasty on top of a bed of roasted spaghetti squash.  As for the couscous, I used the Near East brand.  It's really easy to make - you just boil water with a little olive oil and salt, add the couscous, remove it from the heat, cover it, and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Easy Peasy!

Ingredients (meatballs)

1.5 ounces of white bread, torn into pieces (I used italian bread - you can use any white)
2 pounds lean ground lamb
1/2  cup finely chopped green onions
3 tablespoons minced seeded pickled jalapeño peppers
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño pepper liquid  
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
garlic cloves, minced 
1.5 large eggs (scramble the 2nd one and only use half of it)

Ingredients (sauce)

2/3 cup mango chutney
4 Tbs tomato paste 
4 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce 
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño pepper liquid 
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint

For the meatballs:

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl.  I suggest mixing them by hand.  You'll never get a good distribution of the ingredients otherwise.  

And make all of your meatballs the same size so they cook the same amount.  Wouldn't it be awful to have some raw and some cooked?  Yes, it would!

Brown the meatballs in a nonstick pan with some vegetable oil spray.  Turn the meatballs over from time to time so you brown all sides.  Then, transfer them to an already-heated slow cooker.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and pour it over top.

I cooked it on high for one hour, and then on low for another 1.5 hours.  Those little suckers really cooked down!

Serve on top of your choice of starch.  While I used couscous, you might put them on top of something else--the suggested spaghetti squash, pasta, orzo, or rice. Maybe they'd be good on top of fresh, Italian bread (the part that you didn't use to make the meatballs). That's totally up to you!  

Since you might change the startch, or omit it completely, I didn't include the calories from the couscous in the nutrition facts.  

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 390
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28 g43 %
Saturated Fat 12 g59 %
Monounsaturated Fat 11 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 122 mg41 %
Sodium 355 mg15 %
Potassium 375 mg11 %
Total Carbohydrate 14 g5 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g2 %
Sugars 9 g
Protein 21 g41 %
Vitamin A8 %
Vitamin C7 %
Calcium4 %
Iron15 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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