While I am not a big lamb lover, orderer, eater…uh cooker, I have been meaning to recreate this recipe since I first sank my teeth into it over a year ago. There is this cute little tapas restaurant in the town where I grew up called Ficelle. Although they don’t cater to Paleo eaters, I know the owners (like they are family kind of “know” them) and am able to make a few changes and get away with eating several things on the menu without a stomachache due to a gluten exposure. The first time I had this dish I was in complete awe. I started drooling as it was being brought to my table. The meatball was bigger than any meatball I had ever seen. Before I even took a bite I knew that it was going to be delicious. Since then I have been planning to make this recipe. It was actually the first recipe on my “Recipes to make for the Blog” list. I ordered ground lamb from 5280 Meat Co right away and got to planning. Part of me was hesitant to even try to recreate the recipe. It is hard to recreate perfection right? Wrong, because I did it! Although it did take me a year to grow some (meat) balls and finally got around to making it!
The first step to making these magical, moist and meaty balls has nothing to do with the lamb but everything to do with the preparation for the marinated Portobello mushrooms. The best way to do this is to start by removing the stems of each Portobello with a paring knife. Next, take a spoon and carefully scoop out the gills. This process can be ignored but the gills add a musty flavor and a darker color to a light colored dish so are better removed for most dishes. There also can be some dirt or sand left in the gills so removing them will eliminate possible grittiness to your meal. Last part of your Portobello prep is to take a clean, damp dish towel and wipe each cap, removing any dirt or debris. I used my favorite olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Kasandrinos for the marinade. If you haven’t tried their products yet, you should go order some now! I keep a baby bottle of Kasandrinos olive oil in my purse and lunch bag that way if I am ever out and about I can know for sure that I am getting quality olive oil on my salads.
I topped this delicious recipe with a homemade, dairy-free tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is a Greek sauce made of yogurt, garlic and cucumbers. Back when I was in college and living a Vegetarian lifestyle there was this Mediterranean joint 100 feet from my apartment. I order Pita Falafel with extra tzatziki every other day! One of the main reasons I wanted to recreate this dish, besides the brilliantly moist ball of meat and the magically marinated mushroom was because of the tzatziki sauce that topped it. I prefer to do things dairy-free most of the time because crappy quality dairy brings on cold/allergy like symptoms for me. The recipe I whipped up was fairly easy to make, tastes amazing and is a nice bonus to this already delicious meal. Make sure you smoother your balls in this delicious dairy-free tzatziki sauce!
- 4 Portobello Mushroom Caps
- ¼ cup Kasandrinos Olive Oil
- ½ cup Kasandrinos Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 2 garlic gloves, minced
- ¼ cup onion, diced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp pepper
- 3 mint leaves, finely chopped/ 1½ tsp dried mint
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Using paring knife remove Portabello stems
- Remove gills with a spoon
- Wipe caps with a clean, damp dishcloth or paper towel
- Combine mushroom caps, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic in shallow dish or ziplock bag
- Marinate Portobellos for at least 30 minutes
- Combine all other ingredients in a food processor, pulse until well blended
- Place Portobellos on parchment lined baking sheet, top side down
- Divide meatball mixture into 4 equal portions
- Roll into tennis ball sized balls
- Place each ball on the mushroom caps
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Internal temp should be 160 degrees
What is your favorite way to eat lamb?
To a nourished life,