The original recipe called for lamb, obviously, but being unable to buy good lamb for less than the price of raising a child through college, I opted for ground beef. The verdict? Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Seriously, it was so flavorful and complex and delicious, and the textures of the chickpeas and the meatballs together -- mmmmmmm... A very big thank you to Claudia for providing the inspiration.
I did make a few subs and additions (duh) since I can't leave well enough alone. I used dry thyme instead of fresh, and added a big heaping tablespoon of lemon zest to the ground meat. I think I also added enough garlic to repel an army of vampires. But it's ok. No handsome men were present at tonight's meal, so we're all good. Actually, no men. At all. I'm not bitter.
A main course this delicious called for a simple but equally delicious dessert. I've been looking for a good way to use up the currants I bought to make hot cross buns, and came across a few recipes for barm brack or tea brack -- fruit-studded Irish sweet breads -- and they were the inspiration for what I eventually came up with: Spiced currant cake. With freshly whipped cream. And a little nutmeg on top. Seriously, somebody stop me before I take over the world with my awesomeness. Did I mention I made up this dadgum recipe?? Because I did.
Oh, you'd like to know how I made it? I thought you'd never ask.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup raw (turbinado) sugar
1 T. lemon juice
3/4 c. milk
1 T. lemon zest
2 cups flour
4 t. baking powder
1 scant t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1 c. dried currants
Cream together butter and sugar until very fluffy. Add eggs and beat until frothy, scraping down sides of bowl frequently. Add milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Sift together flour and baking powder and stir in nutmeg and salt. Toss currants in flour mixture. Add to wet ingredients and mix just until moistened, about 30 seconds.
Pour into an 8 x 8 baking pan and bake for 45-55 minutes in a 350 oven, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean but not dry. Serve with freshly whipped cream and garnish with a sprinkling of nutmeg. Devour. Repeat.
Aren't you glad we don't have to graze like cattle? I sure am. Yay food!