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Israeli MeatballsIsraeli Meatballs (Ketzitzot)
½ an onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
500g of minced lamb
A handful of fine green beans
Finely grated zest of quarter of a lemon
Salt, pepper and olive oil
A heaped tablespoon of Zhoug
A 400 g of chopped tomatoes
In generous skillet, soften the onions and garlic gently with a pinch of salt. The salt draws the moisture from the vegetables so they soften quicker. When soften, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Take the fine beans and finely chop so they are small discs (these are called “rondelles” in the trade!)
Take the lamb and add the cooled onion and garlic mix along with the rondelles of fine bean. These raw beans add a great crunch to the dish. Add the zhoug and mix in thoroughly. At this stage you can add the lemon zest and once again combine thoroughly. Don’t forget to season at this stage.
Place the mix in a bowl and cover and place in the fridge to firm up. When “set”, after about an hour probably, roll the meat mixture into small balls about the size of a large marble. Rustic is good so don’t worry if they are not perfect. When three or four are done, cook them as a taster. You will need to cook three or four because one will not be enough as they are that good!! Adjust the seasoning, you may also want to add more zhoug and lemon juice.
When guests are arriving (but you can cook these before and reheat later) put some olive oil in a pan and add the little balls and gently cook until nicely coloured and cooked through. When you are happy that they are properly cooked remove from the heat and deglaze the pan with the tin of chopped tomatoes. Reduce this down until sticky and put the meatballs back in so they are coated with the tomato mix.
To serve, scoop out the beautiful coated meatballs and place them in your best white bowl. Serve with zhoug and a skewer and a generous sprinkle of sea salt flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice. Its finger food so watch out for drops on the carpet!!!
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