Lamb and Eggplant Meatball Pita Sandwiches

Christine Datian does a lot of cooking. Many of her
creations have appeared in ‘Sunset’
 and ‘Cooking
Light’ online magazines. In fact, several of her recipes have already been
featured on The Armenian Kitchen. Perhaps you’ll recall  her
‘Spicy SouthwesternTabbouleh’, ‘Bulgur Pilaf with Onions and Tomato Juice’, ‘Red Lentil Soup’, and
Prosciutto and Asparagus Pasta’.


The most recent recipe Christine sent me is called ‘Lamb and Eggplant Meatball Pita Sandwiches’ which appeared in Sunset Magazine in
2005. Pretty impressive!
I have been given permission to share this recipe with
you.
Photo by Christina Schmidhofer

Eggplant always seems to have a love-it-or-hate-it
audience. But, according to Christine, “even people who claim they don’t
like eggplant love these easy meatballs”. You can use a small ice cream
scoop to shape them quickly.


Christine Datian’s ‘Lamb and Eggplant Meatball Pita Sandwiches’
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Prep and cook time: About 1 hour

Ingredients:
    1 large egg,
lightly beaten
    1 1/2 pounds
ground lean lamb or beef
    1 1/2 cups
finely chopped eggplant (about 4 oz.)
    1/3 cup chopped
onion
    1/3 cup minced
parsley
    1/4 cup pine
nuts
    1/4 cup
Italian-style dried bread crumbs
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon
minced garlic
    3/4 teaspoon
salt
    3/4 teaspoon
fresh-ground pepper
    3/4 teaspoon
dried basil
    3/4 teaspoon
dried oregano
    2 cups
purchased marinara sauce
    1 teaspoon
Worcestershire
    6 pocket breads
(5 in. wide), cut in half
    Green and red
bell pepper rings (optional)

Preparation:
1. In a large bowl, mix the egg, lamb, eggplant, onion,
parsley, pine nuts, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, basil,
and oregano. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and place them 1 inch
apart in an oiled 12- by 17-inch baking pan.
2. Bake meatballs in a 425° oven until they are well
browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Spoon out and discard any fat from pan. Stir in the
marinara sauce and Worcestershire, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan
and turning meatballs to coat. Bake until sauce is steaming, 3 to 5 minutes
longer.
4. Spoon meatballs into a bowl and scrape sauce over
them. Spoon meatballs and sauce into pocket breads and tuck in bell pepper
rings if desired.
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