Comfort food is a term we use a lot. But what does it mean exactly?
I think it’s the kind of food that makes you feel rather than think.
For many people, it’s the food they grew on or the food from their motherland like a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce for an Italian or a steaming Ramen soup for a Japanese descendant.
For me, however, comfort food can cross cultures and can be defined by the specific preparation of the dish.
Soup-based meals are a good example. I didn’t grow up in Vietnam or have any Vietnamese background, yet a bowl of well-prepared Pho, made with bone broth that was cooked for a few hours, will soothe my soul like nothing else.
The meatball in a sauce is a cooking method that considered to be comfort food in many culinary traditions.
In this dish, I am taking two typical Mediterranean ingredients that are staples in the region – lamb meat and yogurt. The combination will usually be lamb Kebab with some yogurt sauce. In this case, I wanted to make the cooked version. The meatballs here are flattened a bit and will look like fat patties.
In the kitchen:
1 pound ground lamb
2 medium zucchinis, thickly grated
0.5 chopped onion
0.5 tsp ground cumin
0.5 tsp dried thyme
0.5 tsp dill seeds
1 tbs chopped dill
3-4 sage leaves – chopped
2 garlic cloves – thinly sliced
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup chicken broth
3-4 tsp goat or lamb yogurt.
In a bowl put the meat, zucchinis, onion, thyme, cumin, egg, salt and pepper. Mix everything with your hand until you achieve a homogenized mix. Don’t overdo it, the mix should be soft and sticky.
For making the meatballs, keep your hands wet as it will be much easier that way to work with the sticky mix.
For each ball-patty, take about 2tbs from the mix in your hands and create a ball. Then flatten it a little and put aside.
In a large heavy pan, put a generous amount of olive oil. It should be about 5-6 tablespoons in the least because you want the whole pan to be covered with a thick layer of oil. Use high heat to heat the oil for about a minute, then lower to low heat.
Gently, lay the patties in the hot oil And flip them over after 3-4 minutes. It’s a gentle fry and you want the patties golden-brown from both sides. When this is done, put the patties aside on a paper towel.
Put 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, sage, dill seeds, and garlic in a clean large pan. Heat the oil gently for 2 minutes. Make sure not to brown the garlic. Add the broth, salt, and freshly ground pepper, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the patties, lower the heat and cover the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the patties and cook for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and make some room in the middle of the pan.
Immediately, stir in the yogurt until you get a homogenized sauce. Move the patties around and let them and the sauce to get to know each other. Add the chopped dill.
As simple as that.