We are firmly rooted in rhubarb season and while my preferred consumption is via my morning raw juice, I do love rhubarb for it's astringent, bracing quality. Pairing well with fatty foods and delicious when raw, rhubarb is often overlooked as a staple and treated simply as an addition to cakes and pies. Big mistake! Here, a more simple rhubarb recipe highlighting the bitter qualities of rhubarb - a great place to start for anyone puckering at the thought of eating rhubarb raw - from my eBook series, Fresh Pantry. Get the eBook here, and the print book (full of seasonal references & growing tips) here.
I absolutely love yogurt, especially when served alongside a savory dish of roasted or heavily spiced meat. Here, yogurt is made into raita, a traditional yogurt sauce often made with cucumber and mint, but I’ve replaced the cucumber with small bits of rhubarb. Honey is added to the mix to round out the sour flavor of both the yogurt and the rhubarb, but it can be omitted if you prefer the tang.
Lamb Meatballs with Rhubarb–Yogurt Sauce
LAMB MEATBALLS 1 pound ground lamb 2 teaspoons garam masala 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon red chile flakes 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon dried oregano Freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces rhubarb (about 2 stalks), trimmed and cut into a very small dice 1 cup plain yogurt 1 teaspoon honey ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Put the ground lamb and all of the spices except the nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix well until the spices are evenly distributed throughout the lamb. Shape the mixture into small meatballs, about 3 inches in diameter, and place them in a roasting pan (be sure to leave space between the meatballs). Drizzle olive oil over the top of the meatballs and put in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.
While the meatballs are roasting, make the rhubarb raita. In a small bowl, combine the rhubarb, yogurt, honey, and nutmeg, stirring to combine well. Set the mixture aside.
Remove the meatballs from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving alongside a bowl of rhubarb raita.
PANTRY NOTE: Lamb meatballs can be made ahead and chilled until ready to use, up to three days. Leftover rhubarb