6 tbls plus 2 tbls butter
1 tbls olive oil
2 medium white or Spanish onions, chopped fine
8 cups chicken or veal stock
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 cup Turkish red pepper paste*
2 pounds ground lamb or beef
1 cup paella rice (Bomba, Carnaroli, Calasparra) cooked
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried spearmint
1 tsp finely grated cinnamon stick
1 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 tbls chopped parsley
6 eggs plus 2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour for breading
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
Salt & pepper
2 cups fresh shucked peas, blanched
1/4 pound tender pea greens, roughly chopped
*Note: Turkish Red Pepper Paste can be found at Middle Eastern markets or on the internet. You can substitute tomato paste with hot pepper sauce.
A spasm of humor, passion or debauchery took over the Ottoman Palace kitchens, resulting in colorful names for certain dishes. These lamb or beef croquettes are first shaped into meatballs and then slightly flattened to resemble a plump thigh shape. Then they are lightly battered and fried and served in a sweet and spicy red pepper broth and are delicious with fresh cranberry beans or sweet peas and pea greens.
In a large sauté pan, over medium-high, melt 2 tablesoons of butter with a tablespoon of olive oil until the butter begins to brown. Stir in the finely chopped oinion and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened. Set aside and allow it to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large soup pot over high heat, bring the chicken or veal stock to a boil. Add the chopped red bell pepper and Turkish red pepper paste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes until the pepper is tender and the broth has reduced slightly and has become a bit more concentrated. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, combine the ground beef or lamb, rice, cumin, oregano, spearmint, cinnamon, black pepper, salt, chopped parsley, and cooled onion mixture. Using the paddle attachment, blend until the beat becomes creamy, for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Beat in 2 of the eggs. Set aside in the refrigerator to cool and rest, at least 10 minutes.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the remaining eggs with a pinch of salt.
Pre-eat a deep fryer (or deep pan) with canola oil to 350F.
Divide the meat mixture in quarters and each each into 8 meatballs or more if you want them smaller. Roll each meatball in flour and then drop them into the beaten egg mixture. Using a sloted spoon, remove them one by one and drop into the hot oil for frying. Fry until they are golden brown, about 4 minutes and drain on paper towels.
Before serving, finish the broth by straining the liquid through a fine sieve. Place the red pepper solids with a cup of the liquid in a blender and puree until very smooth. Pour back into the broth and place the liquid back in the soup pot over medium heat. Whisk in the pomegranate molasses and 6 tablespoons of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in peas and keep warm.
Place pea greens and meatballs in warm bowls and top with plenty of broth and peas. Serve immediately.