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BAKED MEATBALLS FROM SYROS WITH WALNUTS, ALMONDS, AND PRUNES

Mezze-Meatballs.JPG
(Sorry about the poor, unappetizing photo. No time to make "pretty" when I had to get it ready for guests.)

As I mentioned in my last post, recipes I used for my Mezza table were from multiple regions. This recipe came from a cookbook called "The Foods of the Greek Islands". I've only made a couple of things from this cookbook, but am now thinking I need to try more, because these meatballs were really good.

The recipe calls for beef, but one of my guests for that night doesn't eat beef, so I used Bison instead. It worked perfectly. These meatballs have a very soft texture, not like a regular meatball. Different in that they have ground almonds and walnuts, and pine nuts in them. They are cooked along with prunes in a sauce of chicken stock, red wine, and red wine vinegar. I would definately make these again.

KOUBEBA SYRIANI
BAKED MEATBALLS FROM SYROS WITH WALNUTS, ALMONDS, AND PRUNES

Makes about 12 rolls, serves 4 (Or you can do as I did and make them smaller to serve as appetizers.)

1 medium onion, quartered
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pound lean ground veal or beef
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup ground walnuts, plus 20 walnut halves (I used pecans instead, as that is what I had onhand.)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup toasted bread crumbs
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing (I didn't use near this much)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 pitted prunes
1 cup chicken stock or beef stock
1/2 to 2/3 cup dry red wine
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

In a food processor or blender, combine the onion, chopped parsley and lemon juice and pulse to chop.

In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, meat, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, bread crumbs, oil, egg, pepper and salt and knead into a homogenous mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 mintues and up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Shape 1/4 cup portions of the meat mixture into oval rolls and arrange in a 13x9 inch baking dish. Brush the rolls with oil and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, insert 1 walnut half into each prune.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Arrange the stuffed prunes between the meat rolls, add the stock, wine and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more. Baste with the pan juices, turn off the oven and leave the dish in the oven for 5 minutes.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings with vinegar, salt and/or pepper.

Comments (2)

amy:

Oh my goodness, these sound divine. My Moroccan cousins make similar meat-and-nut mixtures for meatballs and stuffing vegetables using pistachios.

Amy-I bet pistachios would be wonderful in these.

I love the idea of all of those nuts with the meat. I definitely need to make those!

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