a tomato bath with minced lamb

One way to make lamb cigars can be found here. Yesterday, we went all wild with fresh ingredients and I made a more tomato-y variety which I’m recording here for the benefits of the eaters present (and anyone else).

The assets:

Medium-coarsely ground lamb with a healthy but not ridiculous amount of fat to serve four.

2-3 fresh, ripe, large tomatoes right off the vine, finely diced.

And…One large-ish diced onion, about 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh spearmint, a sprig of fresh rosemary, one bay leaf, a teaspoon ground cumin, half a teaspoon mild paprika powder, the tiniest trace of ground cinnamon, freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste, 2 medium cloves finely chopped garlic, good olive oil, dry white wine, a dash of fresh cream.

The sauce: chopped onions, slowly sauteed in (quite) a few tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet with the whole rosemary and the bay leaf. After some softening and yellowing (min. 10 minutes; the slower/longer the merrier), add all the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper and bubble on, on medium heat, while you prepare the lamb.

The lamb: in a bowl, thoroughly mix ground lamb, mint, cumin, paprika, cinnamon and more pepper and salt. When the tomato sauce has bubbled for about ten minutes, 3-inch cigar-shaped meatballs are made and placed in the sauce one-by one.

If the tomatoes are juicy and ripe, you’ll be able to braise the lamb cigars, turning occasionally, without a lid all the way through. Check occasionally that the sauce doesn’t reduce too much and starts sticking to the bottom of the skillet. Stir, add water if needed (I didn’t have to).

As the cigars approach being done, add a glass of white wine to the sauce, stir, and raise the heat to reduce the sauce. Check for salt, remove the rosemary twig and bay leaf, add cream, stir again, check one last time for salt, serve.

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