Eighty percent of the time my husband and I go out to eat, we want Mediterranean food.
But then I start to look at menus, and as much as I love supporting local restaurants, I just can’t argue the fact that it’s cheaper for me to make some Mediterranean cuisines at home. Take lamb for example. At a restaurant you’ll pay anywhere between 25-40 depending on where you go. No doubt that lamb will be good and probably worth every penny, but the cost saving ninja inside of me still alerts me that I can make lamb dishes for a fraction of that price in my own kitchen.
I’ve been having odd cravings for meatballs lately, and after learning about matbucha from a friend the other day I felt confident that I could incorporate lamb meatballs into it without comprising the Mediterranean authenticity of the dish.
Typically matbucha is cooked over the stove, but this weekend was a “dirty as few dishes as possible” weekend at our house. (Aka I was just feeling a little lazy.) So I decided to alter the traditional recipes a little bit in order to roast the whole dish in the oven in one swoop.
The result was a delightfully tender and flavorful dish. And the meatballs? Let’s just say my craving was more than satisfied.
- [b]For the matbucha:[/b]
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 can fired roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- [br][b]For the lamb meatballs:[/b]
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- [b]For the matbucha:[/b] Heat the oven to 425˚ F. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined, then transfer to a large casserole baking dish. Roast for 30-40 minutes until eggplant and peppers are soft. Remove from oven and turn oven temp down to 375.
- For the meatballs: Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix with your hands until combine. Form into balls (about the size of a tablespoon) and place on a baking sheet. While the matbucha is cooling, bake until the meat is no longer pink in the middle, about 15 minutes.
GiGi Eats says
Mouth is OPEN over here out of shock as to how delicious this looks, but also… Because I would like 10 bites! ha ha!
Lauren Gaskill says
Awww thanks so much GiGi!!
Mmm… That looks delicious – and I’m not even an eggplant fan. 😉 Thank you for sharing this at Savoring Saturdays!
Lauren Gaskill says
Thanks Raia! I made this for a dinner party and one of the guests said she doesn’t usually like eggplants but loved them in this dish. Might be worth a try!