Today was the first Zestuous Challenge. I turned to my fans on Facebook and asked them to post one protein, one fruit/vegetable and one starch. Then, they had to select the course: appetizer, soup, salad, entrée, bread or dessert. Today’s challenge was Lamb, Lemon and Russet Potatoes prepared as an appetizer ~ thanks to Ken, Christine, Libby and Kimberly.
I got lucky, these foods go quite nicely together. However, I have never prepared lamb before. The times I’ve had it have been hit and miss. Sometimes it has been delectable, and other times, quite gamey.
The first stop was to the grocery. Unfortunately, my regular butcher only had frozen lamb. I wanted to prepare the dish tonight, so I went to the local grocer instead. Since I knew I was going to ground the lamb, I got boneless stew meat; next, a bag of lemons and some Russet potatoes.
Now what? So many ideas were floating around in my head, but I had stuffed peppers on the brain. That gave me a great idea ~ Lamb Stuffed Lemons. Stuffed peppers are usually prepared with rice. I thought, if I grate the potatoes, that should work. Then, the rest just came down to mixing the meat, cooking small amounts to test the flavors and finally preparing the first Zestuous Challenge dish.
They turned out pretty good and not gamey, at all, thanks to the acid from the lemons and feta cheese. I didn’t grind the meat very well, so it was challenging to eat delicately because there were some stringy parts. If you can find it, use pre-ground lamb, or have the butcher do it professionally for you. My husband also thought the potatoes were a little undercooked, but I liked them that way because it gave the dish a subtle crunch. I think I’ll try this technique again, but I’m still not a lamb lover, so I’ll try it with chicken or shrimp, next time.
Thanks to everyone who helped me with the first challenge. If you want to be part of the next one, stay tuned to www.facebook.com/zestuous for the challenge announcement.
Rules for the Zestuous Challenge ~ When I announce the challenge on Facebook, fans need to post one protein, one fruit/vegetable and one starch. Then, they need to select the course: appetizer, soup, salad, entrée, bread or dessert. The first post in each category will be selected, and each person can only post once. And while it’s tempting to throw me a total curveball, like an anchovy dessert, hopefully, you’ll select items that we’d all like to eat.
Lamb Stuffed Lemons
1 lb. lamb, ground
1 medium (6-oz.) Russet potato, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 ozs. Feta cheese
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the lemons in half lengthwise. Run a paring knife along the flesh to loosen. Using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh and save in a bowl. Repeat with all six lemons, until you have 12 halves. Place them on a baking sheet.
Squeeze the juice out of the flesh of the lemons and strain with a sieve to remove all seeds and pulp. Save the juice.
In a medium bowl, mix together ground lamb, shredded potatoes, minced garlic, 3 ozs. Feta cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Spoon the meat mixture into the lemon halves. Top with remaining 3 ozs. of Feta cheese. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 150-160. Plate and serve with small spoons or petite forks.