OK so who needs an easy tasty elegant appetizer for passover that can be prepared in a disposable metal pan?
There is a Nigella Lawson recipe for lamb mini meatballs that is amazing. I saw her make them on television and thought, well I have to try that. Of course, the original recipe calls for semolina and eggs and requires that you fry the meatballs.
Obviously none of that is going to work for me.
So I tried standard egg replacer. Don’t. They fell apart. I tried doing without the eggs. Also not good. That may work for beef or larger meatballs but for lamb…not so much. To avoid frying one time I tried boiling them. Same thing. Lamb crumble soup…sort of.
Finally I found something that seemed to work. It involves the use of a seaweed based food called agar agar which is kosher and is available both online and in health food stores. It is a bit like gelatin but with different cooking properties.
To make it kosher for passover you may have to omit the cumin. Cumin seemed to be a gray area because its grown near wheat. I also could not find a kosher for passover source. All other ingredients are OK. The allspice can be difficult to find in a kosher for passover version but it is available here
These can be made ahead and then reheated just before serving.
1 pound ground lamb
1/4 tsp agar agar
4 tablespoons tapioca starch
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup minced green onions (preferably white and light green parts cut very very small)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
One baking pan either 9 x 9 or 13 x 9
Put agar in water to dissolve
When agar is dissolved add the tapioca to the water to make a paste. Note that the agar may not dissolve completely…this is fine.
Add in the spices and salt and mix to combine
Knead in the meat and the green onions until well incorporated
Once the mixture is even and the spices are well distributed wash your hands
Keep wetting your hands as you roll meatballs into balls just slightly smaller than one inch in diameter. Otherwise they tend to stick.
Put the meatballs into the baking tray or dish.
Bake in oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. The temperature is not all that critical and you can bake these at a lower temperature with other foods. Basically, you are looking for them to be about the same color as the ones in the picture with a fair amount of rendered fat when you remove them. Higher heat for less time is better and juicier, but not mandatory. Your pan and oven may cause the time to vary (glass baking dishes like mine cook more slowly) so keep checking after 20 minutes
Serve on toothpicks as an appetizer or you can used them in soup.
But that is another recipe
PLEASE NOTE: If you can handle eggs and don’t mind frying and want to adapt the original recipe in a different way for your passover dinner, you can find it here.