Meaty Monday: Ground Lamb with Asparagus and Peas

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Tactical errors occur frequently in the kitchen here at Al Dente HQ. I have this tendency to plan a week’s worth of meals without necessarily reading the instructions.

For instance, I observe Meatless Monday and had planned to make a roasted tomato and crispy chickpea sauce. When I got home from work and read the recipe, I noticed that step one of the recipe is to roast the tomatoes for three hours. So. Yeah. That wasn’t going to work.

Meatless Monday takes a seat for Meaty Monday and what was supposed to be for dinner later in the week.

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The recipe calls for you to make your own tzatziki, which I was not prepared to tackle. Frankly, I was just as content to buy the high-quality version sold on the Mediterranean bar at Wegmans. It’s damn good and stands well on its own with some pita.

IMG_4524WHAT WORKED: The lamb. It cooks quickly and stands up to spices well. It’s not what I would call a lean meat, so you don’t need a lot of oil to start it. And you don’t need extra liquid to cook the veggies.

WHAT DIDN’T: I guess me for not reading the recipe for the pasta.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “This is interesting. I’m sure you will make fun of me but I don’t understand the necessity of the peas.

WILL MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes and next time with some diced tomatoes.

IMG_4532Ground Lamb with Asparagus and Peas
Adapted from Yasmin Fahr at Serious Eats

  • 16 oz. container non-fat or 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated with a microplane grater
  • 1 clove garlic, grated with a microplane grater (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

IMG_4502Eliminate the above ingredients if you purchase store-bought tzatziki

  • 4 white or whole wheat pitas
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 lbs. ground lamb
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, thinly sliced

Tzatziki: Combine the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and lime juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

IMG_4506Toast the pitas in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside on serving plates and cover with a clean dish towel to keep warm.

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In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, cooking until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lamb and stir until beginning to cook through and is still light pink, about 3 minutes. Add the peas and asparagus, season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp and lamb is completely cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Serve the lamb mixture with pita, tzatziki, and chopped mint.

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