January 23, 2013

Pin It Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatball and Smashed Chickpeas - Cook the Books

Taken from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
My sister tried this recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook last week with great results so I figured I'd try it out too.  Plus, it gave me a great excuse to go to the new spice shop in my neighborhood, Spice Ace
Spice Ace is a really cool spice shop that is great for finding unusual/hard to find herbs and spices for really reasonable prices.  They also have tons of varieties of salts and sugars, more than I ever knew existed. It's a really cool place to check out if you are looking for something specific or to just peruse the shelves and get inspired by their huge collection.
This whole wall is just salts!
I went there specifically to get Aleppo Chile pepper and sumac. I'd heard of sumac so figured they had it but wasn't as optimistic about Aleppo pepper.  When I asked if they had it the guy said, "Oh yeah, of course." Apparently not as uncommon as I thought. I was able to walk out of there with both spices for less and $10 and was now fully prepared to make these recipes!
The recipe for the sesame-spiced meatballs is not on the Smitten Kitchen site but I did find it typed up here. It yielded 20 meatballs for me.

I always feel like meatballs are a huge pain and super involved to make, but they were actually really easy.  Everything just goes into one bowl, you mix it up and form the meat into balls.  Deb has notes about being careful while forming and browning the meatballs as they are really delicate and soft, but I didn't have that issue at all.
Prepped the meatballs earlier in the day and put them in the fridge to save time later.
The only change I made was that instead of baking the meatballs in the pan I browned them in, I  transferred them to an oil coated glass baking dish and baked them for ~20 minutes in that.

I browned the meatballs in two batches then transferred them to my baking dish.
It took a little longer to cook than Deb indicated but I just cut open one as a tester to make sure they were not pink in the middle.
To accompany the meatballs, I wanted to make the recommended smashed chickpea salad. I couldn't find the chickpea recipe anywhere online though, so I'll provide it below:

1 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 15 oz. can)
Handful of pitted, halved and very thinly sliced green olives
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac, plus more for garnish
Chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Olive oil

Combine everything but the olive oil into a bowl and lightly smash the chickpea mixture with the back of a fork or a potato masher. Dress chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil and stir to combine.

I doubled this recipe and again, it was super easy to make. Put everything in a bowl and smashed it together. Done.
I tried to go easy on the parsley as it's not my favorite flavor, but a little worked well in this salad.
Last week I also made Smitten Kitchen's super smooth hummus.  I doubled the recipe so we had a ton and it was the prefect compliment to this meal. The hummus was really good and so smooth. She has you shell the chickpeas, which takes a while but I think it's the key to its creamy texture.  I found it to be a little salty (maybe only add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to start) and tried to cut it with some additional lemon juice. I also found that it doesn't need as much of the chickpea cooking water added in at the end as she recommends. I used canned chickpeas so I just used water for this part. I'm not sure if I'll ever go back to buying store bought hummus again!  It's super easy to make yourself (especially if you skip the shelling step) and you can make it any flavor you want: garlic, roasted red pepper, spicy, anything!
In addition to the hummus, I served the meatballs and smashed chickpea salad with tzadiki sauce and mini pitas from Trader Joe's.
This was a delicious meal that was great as leftovers the next day. The meatballs were juicy and flavorful and the chickpeas were light and lemony. I would definitely make this again and recommend it for others to try too. 

1 comment:

  1. Sumac is one of my new favorite spices. It is amazing! Have fun with it.