Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lamb and Eggplant Meatball Pita Sandwiches

Christine Datian does a lot of cooking. Many of her creations have appeared in ‘Sunset’  and ‘Cooking Light’ online magazines. In fact, several of her recipes have already been featured on The Armenian Kitchen. Perhaps you’ll recall  her ‘Spicy SouthwesternTabbouleh’, ‘Bulgur Pilaf with Onions and Tomato Juice’, ‘Red Lentil Soup’, and ‘Prosciutto and Asparagus Pasta’.

The most recent recipe Christine sent me is called ‘Lamb and Eggplant Meatball Pita Sandwiches’ which appeared in Sunset Magazine in 2005. Pretty impressive!
I have been given permission to share this recipe with you.

Photo by Christina Schmidhofer
Eggplant always seems to have a love-it-or-hate-it audience. But, according to Christine, "even people who claim they don't like eggplant love these easy meatballs". You can use a small ice cream scoop to shape them quickly.

Christine Datian's 'Lamb and Eggplant Meatball Pita Sandwiches'
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Prep and cook time: About 1 hour

    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1 1/2 pounds ground lean lamb or beef
    1 1/2 cups finely chopped eggplant (about 4 oz.)
    1/3 cup chopped onion
    1/3 cup minced parsley
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    1/4 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
    3/4 teaspoon dried basil
    3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 cups purchased marinara sauce
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire
    6 pocket breads (5 in. wide), cut in half
    Green and red bell pepper rings (optional)

1. In a large bowl, mix the egg, lamb, eggplant, onion, parsley, pine nuts, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and place them 1 inch apart in an oiled 12- by 17-inch baking pan.
2. Bake meatballs in a 425° oven until they are well browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Spoon out and discard any fat from pan. Stir in the marinara sauce and Worcestershire, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan and turning meatballs to coat. Bake until sauce is steaming, 3 to 5 minutes longer.
4. Spoon meatballs into a bowl and scrape sauce over them. Spoon meatballs and sauce into pocket breads and tuck in bell pepper rings if desired.

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