Friday, May 6, 2011

Apricot Pilaf with Lamb Meatballs

This dish has a very interesting combination of flavors. The apricots are sweet and slightly sour, the pine nuts give a nice crunch, and then there is the typical strong flavor of the lamb meatballs.

2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 1/2 cups beef broth
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 pound lean ground lamb
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 egg
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Cover apricots with boiling water and let soak 1 hour, drain well. Heat 2 tbsp oil, add onion and fry until softened. Add allspice, garlic, and rice and fry, stirring often, 1-2 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper, reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, soak bread crumbs in 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes, squeeze dry. Add lamb, tomato paste, cumin, egg, about 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix together thoroughly. With dampened hands, roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Heat remaining oil, add pine nuts and fry, turning constantly, until golden brown. Remove from pan. Add meatballs to pan and fry quickly 5-8 minutes, until golden all over. Meanwhile, add apricots, pine nuts, and parsley to cooked rice, cover and heat through. Fluff rice, arrange on plates and top with meatballs.

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