Sunday, January 5, 2014

Recipe Alert! Let's Warm Up Down South at The National!

For those in the tri-state area you know we've been dealing with some seriously cold temps (10 degrees?! WTF?). The weather is one of the many things I miss about the south. Let's warm up and head back down to Athens, GA for one of my fave restaurants-Chef Peter Dale's, The National. I love everything about The National. The area, the decor, the chefs (Chef Huge Acheson from previous 5 & 10 post also collaborated with Chef Peter on the concept), and most importantly...the food! My favorite menu stand-outs include but are not limited too...

Being that The National is inspired by European and Mediterranean flavors, their Hummus rocks. The texture is perfect and it's served with chewy flatbread-YUM!

The Crispy Brussel Sprouts are amazeballs. They're super rich due to the savory herb crema which is an amazing addition to the crispy brussels. They are a must order.

The Seared U-12 Maine Scallops. OMG. These babies are served with carrot hummus, brown butter and pomegranate. One of the best scallop dishes I've had anywhere. 

The Lamb Meatballs. I don't believe these are on the current menu but thanks to Chef Peter Dale being awesome, he decided to share this insanely flavorful recipe for all of you not living in the Athens area. If you find yourself within a 3 hour radius of Athens, I suggest making a pitstop;-)
There are many other delectable looking dishes on the menu that I have yet to try but looking forward to doing so on my next trip down south... Athens Locals=Lucky Dawgs.

Lamb Meatballs with a Dried Cherry Sauce

4-6 servings

2 c dried sour cherries 
2 c warm water 
2 lbs marbled boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of sliver skin and gristle, meat and fat finely ground (or use ground lamb from your butcher) 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp ground cumin 
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
 1/4 c plus 1 T vegetable oil 
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped 
3 T fresh lemon juice 
2 T flat-leaf parsley leaves 
cinnamon to taste 
Aleppo pepper to taste (optional)

In a bowl, soak the dried cherries in the water until softened, about 30 minutes. In a large bowl, spread the lamb in an even layer. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, allspice, 2 ½ teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Sprinkle the spices over the lamb and knead them in. Form the lamb into 3/4 -inch meatballs; you should have about 60. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook over high heat, shaking the pan, until lightly browned outside and rare in the center, about 4 minutes. Drain well.

In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 12 minutes. Add the cherries and their soaking liquid and the lemon juice and simmer over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs and any accumulated juices and simmer over low heat until they are slightly pink inside and the sauce has reduced slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the parsley and serve with pita.

"I discovered this dish on a trip the Middle East and instantly fell in love. I love the savory spice of the lamb with a touch of sweetness from the cherries. About 20 miles south of Athens, the Stewart’s of World Shepherd Lamb Project are raising beautiful lamb in pristine meadows. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful supplier of lamb on our doorstep." - Chef Peter Dale

Photo Credit-J.P. Bond


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Juanina! We reblogged you at