Tag Archives: Prunes

Iraqi Meatballs with Apricots and Tomatoes: Not Just For Passover

Stew_Meatballs_Apricots_Iraqi_BlogEven though this may be a dish served for an Iraqi Passover Seder meal, it is not something that is reserved solely for this holiday alone. Iraqis may prepare this for most any special occasion, including Rosh Hashanah as well as Shabbat. The sweet and savory combination of beef and/or lamb cooked with dried apricots is distinctly Middle Eastern, and has carried over into the Sephardic palate.

Iraqi Meatballs with Apricots & Tomatoes
(Yield: Serves 4 to 6 (Makes About 5 Cups / About 1½ Dozen Meatballs Plus Sauce)

For the Sauce:
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup pitted prunes
¼ cup golden raisins
2 tablespoon canola, vegetable, or olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions (about 1 medium)
One 6-ounce can (about ½ cup) tomato paste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/8 to ½ teaspoon kosher salt (depending upon how salty your tomato paste is)
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground coriander

For the Meatballs:
½ pound ground lamb
½ pound ground beef
¼ cup cold water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 to 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (for greasing your hands and browning meatballs)

PREPARE THE SAUCE:
1. Soak the dried apricots, prunes, and raisins in a small bowl with 3 cups hot water. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onions, stirring, until soft and golden but not brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a large mixing bowl, keeping the saucepan for frying the meatballs (do not wash!).

3. Add the tomato paste and lemon juice and mix until the tomato paste is smooth and blended into the onions.

4. Add the salt, ginger, and ground coriander and mix well.

5. Add the dried fruit with all of its soaking water and mix well to combine. Set aside to prepare the meatballs.

PREPARE THE MEATBALLS:
6. Combine all the meatball ingredients (except for the oil) in a medium-size bowl squeezing it together with your hands until well blended and the meat is very soft.

7. Wash and dry your hands, then coat them lightly with extra canola or vegetable oil. Taking 1½  tablespoons of meat, roll it into a smooth meatball. Place the meatball onto a large platter or plate and continue to roll until all of the meat is used, oiling your hands if necessary.

8. Pour 1 tablespoon of canola oil into the same large saucepan that cooked the onions and reheat over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Place the meatballs into the saucepan and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total.

FINISH THE STEW & SERVE:
9. Pour the sauce mixture over the browned meatballs and mix gently, taking care not to break the meatballs. Bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered, then lower to a medium heat and slow boil until sauce has thickened and reduced slightly and fruit is very soft or almost mushy in texture, about 1 hour.

10. Serve hot over white rice or as is alongside cooked vegetables or potatoes.

©Jennifer Felicia Abadi:  www.TooGoodToPassover.com / jabadi@FistfulofLentils.com

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The Second Night: An All Meat Seder Dinner

Brisket_Blog1

Sephardic Style Brisket with Tamarind,
Coriander, Cinnamon, Ginger,
Apricots and Prunes

Any Carnivores out there? What was your meat of choice: Lamb, Beef or Veal?

For the second night we decided to have a much smaller Seder dinner for us carnivores. We didn’t really read the Haggadah this time, but Micah, my four-year-old insisted that we at least read the basic story as a review.

Here was the menu:
–Leftover charosets with matzah pieces on the side: (Syrian Apricot, Yemenite Date-Almond-Pomegranate, Grandma Fritzie’s Apple Butter with Sweet Wine and Walnuts)

–Vegetable Soup with Matzah Balls

–Jeff’s Cucumber Salad
(even better the next day!)


Sephardic Style Brisket with Tamarind, Onions, Coriander,
Cinnamon, Ginger, Apricots and Prunes

(Yikes! Third time that I made this brisket this week: once for me and twice for two different clients.)

–Syrian White Rice with Pine Nuts (from the first night)

–Chocolate Dipped Dried Apricots, Dates, and Figs,
with Blood Orange Sorbet

Tajine aux Pruneaux (Moroccan Stewed Prunes with Onions, Cinnamon, Sugar, and Toasted Whole Almonds)

Tajine_Prune4

When I first tasted this dish prepared for me by Renée Tangy I was amazed at how simple, yet delicious it was. The sweet, soft prunes almost melt in your mouth, while the crunchiness of the toasted whole almonds adds a nice balance in texture. Although it may seem to be more like a dessert, the addition of sautéed onions gives a certain savory flavor making it a perfect side dish for roasted chicken, lamb, or any other kind of meat. You may also prepare the prunes over steamed couscous for the Moroccan festival of Mimounah at the end of the Passover holiday.

For Prunes:
2 pounds pitted prunes
(about 2 dozen jumbo size)
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions (about 1 1/2 medium)
2 teaspoons orange or lemon zest
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup vegetable or chicken stock
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar

For Serving:
1 cup blanched, whole almonds

1. Place prunes into a medium sized bowl and fill with warm water to cover. (If you are using prunes in the can they may already be very soft and moist, so do not soak or they will become too mushy when cooked; Skip to step #2). Soak for 15 minutes to soften prunes, then drain.

2. Heat a large skillet with the oil for 1 minute over high heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until golden, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the prunes and mix well with the cooked onions. Lower to medium heat and cook
10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.

4. Combine the zest, orange juice, stock, cinnamon, and sugar in a small bowl and mix well. Add to the prunes and cook over medium heat until prunes become very soft, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and taking care not to break up the prunes.

5. Place almonds onto an ungreased baking tray and bake in a 350 F. oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature, then toss with the cooked prunes.

6. Serve hot as a side dish to lamb, veal, or beef.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10 (Makes About 4 Cups)

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