Nicole’s first lamb and Ivie’s first fava beans- Our first post!

We were lucky enough to create our first post while we were actually cooking together!  Nicole’s new cookbook, Jerusalem- A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi arrived in the mail on the same day Ivie flew into Eugene.  We went through the whole book and settled on this recipe because Ivie wanted Nicole to try lamb for the first time and Nicole knew fava beans were in season and Ivie had never had them.

We went to the Eugene farmers’ market and then the meat market to collect our ingredients.  Nicole assumed she had all of the spices but some adjustments had to be made.  Ivie and Nicole were both pleased with their firsts- it was delicious.

Here’s what we did:

Ivie was in charge of the meatball portion, Nicole helped by chopping the onions and garlic.

Spices first

Spices for Baharat

The recipe called for black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, allspice, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, and nutmeg.  We did not have allspice and nutmeg.  The spices were ground in an old coffee grinder and it smelled great!

Next up, making the meat mixture

Ready to mix

Ready to mix

In the meatballs we had two parts ground beef to one part ground lamb.  We were lucky enough to buy direct from free range farmers.  One medium onion, finely chopped.  One cup of bread crumbs.  Three cloves of garlic (the recipe called for two but we are both garlic lovers).  An herb blend of parsley, mint, and dill- straight from the backyard.  The recipe called for fresh cilantro as well but we forgot to pick that up.  Finally eggs to bind.  The recipe also called for capers which we omitted.

Hand rolled by Ivie into the size of golf balls

Hand rolled by Ivie into the size of golf balls

While Ivie seared the meatballs, Nicole got to work on the ingredients for the fava beans and sauce.

meatballs cooking

Brown all sides of meatballs with olive oil on medium heat

fava beans

Fava beans have two layers of shells. They are whole here, ready for their first shelling

For the fava beans and sauce Nicole did a quick blanch in boiling water followed by a cold water shock after removing the beans from the pods.  The recipe had called for two cups of beans, we thought we bought plenty but were surprised to find only three beans in some of the pods.

photo 1 (1)

Favas out of their outer pod

We took the inner shell off of half of the favas.  The inner shell is edible so doing half and half added a layer of complexity to the recipe.  For the sauce which was sauteed in the pan after removing the browned meat balls we used the shell on fava beans, three sprigs of thyme, six sliced garlic cloves, eight green onions cut into one inch segments.  Chicken stock and lemon juice finished the sauce.  The sauce simmered for ten minutes and then the meatballs and twice shelled favas were added back to the pan to finish cooking (covered) for another twenty-five minutes.  We kept an eye on the liquid level and added more stock to be sure there was enough sauce.

The final product

Finished with more chopped herbs and lemon juice

Finished with more chopped herbs and lemon juice

We served this with roasted beets and shallots and look forward to leftovers for lunch today.