Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Feta Lamb Bites with Mediterranean Cous Cous

The first time I ever had Greek food was at a Greek Fest held at a Greek Orthodox church in my hometown. I automatically fell in love with the cuisine and have returned to this festival many times over the years. I love the simplicity of Mediterranean cooking. I had never tried lamb, until I had Greek food. I admit at first, I wasn't a fan. I felt the lamb had too strong of a flavor. Luckily, I tried it again, and fell in love. I believe the key to lamb is in the seasoning. The right combination of spices accentuate the exotic flavor of this meat. In this recipe, I mixed mint, rosemary, cumin, garlic and cinnamon. It might sound strange, but I promise you it works!

Feta Lamb Bites

Makes 35 balls

1 lb ground lamb
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp mint
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
3 tbsp semolina
1 egg
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 to 4 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, combine spices, salt and pepper, semolina, and feta till well combined. Dump in your lamb. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat your egg and then pour over the lamb.

Mix your lamb mixture by hand until everything is well incorporated. With a spoon, scoop out your mixture and roll into 2 inch balls. Set aside.

In a large pan, heat your olive oil on medium. Once heated, add half the balls to the pan. *Note -You do not want to over crowd your pan, or your balls will steam instead of brown.*

Turn the lamb bites until all sides are browned, but not thoroughly cooked. This will take 3-5 minutes. Transfer the lamb bites to your baking sheet. Repeat steps with second half of uncooked balls. Once complete, cook your bites in the oven for 10 minutes.
These bites are great served over Mediterranean cous cous, in a pita pocket, or served as an appetizer with cucumber-dill sauce.

Mediterranean Cous Cous

1 5.8 box Near East Cous Cous, prepared
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp mint
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup black olives, chopped

Prepare cous cous per box instructions. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, and spices. Whisk until well incorporated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together cous cous, tomatoes, cucumber, and black olives. Pour vinaigrette over the cous cous mixture and toss.

Chill for 30 minutes or serve at room temperature.

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