Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kevin Cooks: Spicy Lamb Meatball Pizza

Kevin cooking dinner

With a bunch of classes behind him and onto the second half of Kevin's school year, he's moved on to take a Foods 11 course through online school!  The first assignment was to find a pizza or hamburger recipe, change one thing about it, and cook it.

Of course Kevin's response was, "Only change one thing? Can't I make my OWN recipe?" Um, sure, but that's not the assignment.  I threw him my latest issue of Bon Appetit for inspiration and he was enthralled with this recipe.  Spicy lamb meatballs, nestled in cheese and vegetables, on top of a tender crust was just the thing he wanted to make.  We happened to have a fridge just bursting with all sorts of pizza topping options, which made things really easy!

Browning the meatballs

Adapted from Bon Appetit

First, the meatballs:

½ tsp caraway seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 whole 2 inch dried chipolte chile or 2 tsp ground chipolte chiles  (see *notes below)
1 small (3 inch diameter) potato, peeled
1 lb ground lamb
1 heaping tbsp minced scallion (white parts only)
1 ½ tsp grated pecorino cheese (we used Parmesan)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp finely grated peeled ginger
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

(*note:  If you can't find these, try getting a can of chipolte chiles in abodo sauce.  Dump them in a food processor and make a puree.  Skip the step of roasting/grinding the chipolte pepper and add a tbsp of the puree to the meat mixture before you combine everything together)

In a dry skillet, toast the caraway, coriander, and cumin seeds until aromatic and a little darker in color (about 2 min). Let cool. 

Broil the chile on a baking sheet, watching it carefully, until it puffs up.  Don’t let it burn!  Cut the chile in half and discard the seeds and stem.  Cool and transfer, along with the caraway, coriander, and cumin seeds into a spice mill.   Grind them together until they are fine.   If you use the ground chipolte chiles instead, just add to the seeds mixture and then grind. 

Meanwhile, submerge the potato in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering for about 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.  Drain and allow the potato to cool, then grate. 

In a large bowl combine the chile mixture, the potato, ground lamb, scallions, cheese, salt,  and ginger.  Mix well with your hands and form into tablespoon sized meatballs.

Brown the meatballs in a skillet with a little oil, but leave them a little pink in the center as they will finish cooking on the pizza.

Now, the pizza!

Unbaked pizza

Make a batch of this pizza dough.  If you don't want make the dough from scratch, you can use a pre-made shell or get ready made dough at the store.  Roll it out and fit it into a 12 inch pizza pan.

Pre-heat oven to 450 F.

Kevin chose to skip the traditional pizza sauce and instead drained a 14 oz can of plum tomatoes. Then take the whole tomatoes and seed them, discarding the juices from the insides.  Chop them up and spread them over the crust.  Follow with mozzarella cheese, red onion, feta, sweet peppers, slivers of garlic, and sliced black olives.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the bottom is golden.  I like to then remove the pizza from the oven, turn the oven to broil, move the rack to a higher position and broil the top of the pizza until it's nicely browned.  At this point you have to watch it carefully so that it doesn't burn.

Cool the pizza in the pan for about 5 minutes and then slice into pieces to be fought over at the table, snacked on cold at night, or taken for lunch the next day.

**NOTE: We didn't use all the meatballs on one pizza.  They would easily divide between two pizzas, so cook through any that you don't use and freeze them for another day.  Also, the meatballs cook faster if they are on the smaller rather than larger side.

Meatball Pizza
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