North African Camel Meatballs

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Happy New Year everyone! We are going to kick off 2017 with a yummy recipe using camel meat. People always ask me, “what does camel taste like?”. I can only best describe it as slightly gamey and a cross between beef and lamb. I will add the link at the end of the recipe for those of you that wish to order exotic meats.

Meatballs:

1 pound ground camel meat
1 1/2 cups cubed day-old firm white bread
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
⅛ tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
3 Tbs chopped parsley
3 Tbs chopped cilantro
3 Tbs finely chopped scallion
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Olive oil or vegetable oil

Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Soak the bread in milk, remove and squeeze out excess liquid. In a mixing bowl, put squeezed-out bread, ground meat and egg. Add salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, cloves, coriander and cumin. Mix well with hands to distribute seasoning. Add 2 tablespoons each of parsley, cilantro and scallion, and knead for a minute. May be prepared several hours in advance, up to a day. With hands, roll mixture into small round balls about the size of a quarter. Dust balls lightly with flour. Heat a few tablespoons of oil, or a quarter-inch depth, over medium-high heat and fry meatballs until barely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Put the meatballs in a baking dish and bake them for 15 minutes, remove them and serve with Tzatziki & spicy Harissa sauce (recipe below). Bon Appetit!

Tzatziki sauce:

2 (8 ounce) containers plain yogurt
2 cucumbers – peeled, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Directions
In a food processor or blender, combine yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and garlic. Process until well-combined. Transfer to a separate dish, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for best flavor.

Spicy Harissa sauce:

2 red bell peppers
7 Fresno chili peppers
2 dried chipotle peppers dried chipotle peppers, optional
8 large garlic cloves, divided
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for storing
1 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the bell peppers and Fresno chili peppers on the sheet along with 4 of the garlic cloves. Place in the oven and let the peppers and garlic roast for 10 minutes. Cover the dried chipotle peppers with very hot water in a small bowl. Let the chipotles soak while you prepare the other ingredients. After roasting for 10 minutes, turn the Fresno chill peppers and garlic cloves with tongs. Continue to roast for another 10 minutes until Fresno chilis are soft and collapsing. Take the Fresno chills and garlic cloves off the baking sheet with tongs and set aside. Turn the bell peppers over with tongs and continue to roast in the oven for another 20 minutes.

While bell peppers are roasting, pour the spice seeds into a dry pan and heat over medium, stirring constantly, for a few minutes until they are toasted and fragrant. As soon as the seeds are toasted, remove them from the skillet and pour into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Grind the spices to a powder, and set aside. When the bell peppers are soft and collapsing with the skin blackened in places, remove from the oven. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or foil, and let the peppers sit for 5-10 minutes. Stem and seed the Fresno chills . You can wear gloves during this process to protect your skin from the capsaicin and a burning sensation. Remove and discard any loose pieces of the thin, blackened pepper skin. Reserve the seeds. Remove the skin from the bell pepper then stem and seed them. Drain the Chipotle peppers and roughly chop them up along with the bell peppers.
Process the ingredients in a food processor, scraping the sides of the processor periodically, until the mixture is thick and smooth. Add a little more olive oil for a more liquid texture, if desired. Can be refrigerated up to 3 weeks in an air tight container.

To purchase camel and other exotic meats visit http://www.exoticmeatmarkets.com

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