No, I’m not talking about the little red & white can that sits in the pantry growing dust bunnies because you only pull it out once every 6 years to make those curried glazed carrots you’ve read so much about. No. That stuff is for Cretans and Malcontents. Anywhere else in the world, curry is a dance – a give and take of spices and aromatics – that when blended properly, transforms a dish to such exotic heights, it is the culinary equivalent of Mount Everest…. (sought by many, obtained only by the very adventurous).
So… Seeing the Curried Lamb Meatball recipe the the little CooksEssentials Microwave Pressure Cookery Bookerlette… I was intrigued… but very, very cautious. Like most things, I monkeyed around with their recipe. Not because I’m just a bad person, but like finding that curry nirvana, I have my own particular likes and dislikes that play into the picture when creating that perfect spice blend.
Granted, if you’re not terribly particular, you could just open up that red/white container and hawk in 2 big spoonfuls of curry powder… and you probably wouldn’t notice the difference… again, if you’re not terribly fussy.
… but I am. I like a bit of sweet, some deep richness, a little underarm funk, and a lot less heat. so… yeah… I took the idea of it all, and made my own version. Additionally, I’ve mixed the meatballs 50/50 lamb and beef…. a little sheepy ~ goatiness goes a long way, and I didn’t want THAT particular flavor overpowering the finished curry. There are a few other changes… I’ll just get to those as we get on with the recipe. Right then..
Lamb & Beef Meatball Curry
Based on the CooksEssentials Microwave Pressure Cooker Cookbooklet.
For the meatballs:
1 Pound Ground Lamb
1 Pound Ground Beef (80/20 beef to fat ration would be best)
1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
1/4 Cup Minced Onion
2 Cloves Garlic – Minced
3/4 Cup Breadcrumbs
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
For the Braising Liquid:
1 (14 ounce) Can Red/Gold Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Water
1 Cup Finely Shredded Cabbage (This was spinach in the original recipe. However, stewed spinach just looks like crap in a broth and really doesn’t bring anything to the party. Cabbage adds a nice textural aspect, a bit of flavor, and a little additional liquid to the broth; giving the whole thing a kind of sweet & sour cabbage feel to the dish)
2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Minced Onion
1 Teaspoon Beef Bouillon (you can sub in 1/2 cup of beef stock instead of the water and this, but I like the additional salt the bouillon has)
1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
1/4 Teaspoon Chili Flakes (Personally, I omit this – I much prefer to serve a little chili flakes (or minced Thai Chilies) on the side so everyone can have their own heat level.
1/2 Teaspoon Curry Powder ( you could just put a pinch each of fenugreek, cardamon, and celery…
but you’ve already got that can in there gathering dust, you might as well use it for something)
Place all the braising ingredients into the bottom of the cooker and give it a good stir – set aside to mingle while you make your meatballs In a large bowl, place the lamb and beef, breadcrumbs, and the rest of the meatball party; squitch everything between your fingers to mix very well. Roll the meatballs into 2″ diameter balls – you should get between 18 and 20 meatballs. Place the meatballs on top of the braising liquid and lock the pressure seal. Cook for 16 minutes at 50% power, remove from the micro and allow to depressurize naturally. (about 3 minutes) Carefully remove the pressure seal, stir the meatballs under the liquid and poke as many of them as you can under the stew. Reseal the pressure top and cook for another 10 minutes at full power. Allow the cooker to depressurize naturally again. If the stew is still a little watery for your personal taste, Reseal and cook another 3 minutes (max) on high. Once the cooker depressurizes, carefully open it up and give it a good stir. Serve 4 to 5 meatballs per person on top of some good rice and dollop a little yogurt on top. The verdict? Was it any faster than stove top or oven?… no, not really. In all actuality, I only saved about 20 minutes total time. Total Cook Time – 29 Minutes But – I didn’t heat the crap out of the kitchen, there wasn’t 16 dirty pots to contend with, and it was JUST as good if not better than any other curry I’ve had. So, another win – win – win for the scary little plastic microwave pressure cooker.