Thursday, April 7, 2011

Recipe: Bulgar & Lamb Meatballs (& me in Cooking Light!)

I'm a Twitter junkie and am always watching brands and publications for fun opportunities and found a great one from @CookingLight. They are working with author and host Allison Fishman on "The Twelve" and having real readers implement 12 healthy habits in 2011.

Every month, Allison chooses a new reader to take on that months challenge and for April - SHE CHOSE ME! The challenge is a big one - eat three servings of whole grains EVERY DAY! I probably don't eat three in a month! But she's working with me to figure it out.

My first challenge was to identify the "whole grains" and find recipes that I might like using them. The first one I found and decided to make is Bulgar & Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce from Cooking Light.

And later today, there will be a blog from Allison about me and the April challenge! I'll add a link once it's up.

I must say - using these fresh and natural ingredients sure does make pretty food! First I soaked the bulgur for a couple of minutes and then drained it. Then added parsley and dill.

Seriously - look how pretty it is!!!

I added a "meatloaf mix" instead of straight lamb and didn't use eggs in the meatballs - but they stuck together just fine. I was a bit apprehensive about "boiling" the meatballs rather than frying them - but went for it anyway!

I also ended up using a can of Rotel Hot Tomatoes because that's all that was in the cabinet - and they were HOT!!! I tried to keep out some of the habaneros because I didn't want to ruin the meal - but it turned out okay. I also substituted beef broth for the red wine and threw in a can of mushrooms.

The recipe mentions serving this over rice - I was in the mood for pasta but went the healthy route with Whole Wheat pasta.

And voila! A sprinkle of parmesan and dinner is served!

It tasted great - a little spicy but I really enjoyed it. I'd say next time I would use the Muir Glen tomatoes because they are so wonderful, add a touch more of salt and add a small can of tomato sauce.

The bulgar sort of takes the place of the breadcrumbs and there's still enough meat to not make them taste funky. It's a very light dish with lots of flavor.

I hope you enjoy and let me know if you eat whole grains...I'll continue to share throughout the month of April about my challenge.

Bulgar & Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • Meatballs:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 ounce lean ground lamb
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Dill sprigs (optional)

Preparation

To prepare meatballs, soak bulgur in 2 cups water for 2 minutes; drain through a fine sieve. Combine bulgur and next 7 ingredients (bulgur through 2 minced garlic cloves). Cover and chill 30 minutes. Shape lamb mixture into 18 (1-inch) meatballs; cover and chill 30 minutes.
To prepare sauce, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 minced garlic clove; cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Add red wine; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, cinnamon, and diced tomatoes.
Add meatballs; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Turn meatballs; cover and cook 10 minutes. Garnish with dill sprigs, if desired.



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