Spicing Up Meatballs with Homemade Harissa

Lamb Meatballs with Homemade Harissa

Lamb Meatballs with Homemade Harissa

While I’ve made my fair share of mayonnaise, salad dressing and even ketchup over the years, there are quite a few condiments that I have never tried to make myself — things like curry paste, mustard and harissa. While I’ve been curious to try my hand at these, in the end laziness and convenience have always won out.

However, a recent recipe for homemade harissa from my friends of Gourmandistan piqued my interest. It seemed like a fun challenge and I was curious to taste the end result.

The whole process seemed more daunting than it turned out to be and in less than 20 minutes I had a beautifully smokey and spicy spread. I should confess that I have a deep hatred for caraway (something my husband seems to find equally baffling and entertaining) so I’ll straight up admit I omitted it, but the garlicky mixture of cumin, peppers and tomato was still finger-licking good.

Homemade Harissa

Homemade Harissa

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Baked Turkey Meatballs w. Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce

Turkey Spinach Meatballs

Turkey Spinach Meatballs

My obsession with tearing out recipes from cooking magazines has some serious downfalls (including the hoarding tendencies it brings out in me). The main issue is that sometimes I think I’ve torn out a recipe for something but I can’t exactly remember it. This means I often waste an exorbitant amount of time pawing through my files trying to find something in particular. Usually I’m victorious, sometimes I’m not.

Example: Last Friday, when faced with a pound of thawed ground turkey, I had a vague memory of recently seeing a recipe for turkey ricotta meatballs. I started digging through my “poultry folder,” but came up empty handed. I then dug through the “pasta folder” and the “yet to be filed” pile. No dice.

Undeterred, I scoured my Pinterest boards and went through all of my “likes.” Still nothing.

Disappointed in my lack of success, I eventually gave up on the search and turned to my old friend Google. After some browsing I decided on this recipe from Heather’s Dish. Even though I knew it wasn’t the recipe I had been thinking about, it looked like a winner — easy to make and fairly healthy — two big pluses in my book.

Of course, just this morning I realized that I should have checked my WordPress activity list because here it is, the recipe that inspired me! I guess I’ll have to give it a shot some other time.

I ended up using Heather’s recipe as a starting point, making some changes based on the ingredients I had on hand (and the fact that I forgot to buy ricotta!). I also threw in some extra goodies so at the end of the post I’ve included my version for these delectable little guys.

Turkey Spinach Meatballs -- about to be covered in (more) sauce and baked for 2 hours

Turkey Spinach Meatballs — about to be covered in (more) sauce and baked for 2 hours

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Was it Worth it? Swedish Meatballs

Trying out magazine recipes so you don’t have to….

The Source: Bon Appetit Sept. 2011

  • The Cooks: Oliver Lucky and Domesticity
  • The Menu: Swedish Meatballs on Egg Noodles *only adaptation was using turkey in place of the pork because I have a terrible habit of trying to make things healthier
  • The Background: 89 degree weather and Season 2 of The Killing

The Result:

Egg noodles, parsley and gravy

Swedish meatballs on egg noodles

The Verdict: Absolutely positively worth it! The balls were tender, the gravy was divine and the spices gave it oomph. It was lovely. And I’m sure it would have been even lovelier if we had made this when it was actually cold outside to maximize its “comfort food” quality.