We’re trying to make a wide variety of foods from Emeril’s new cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders, so we chose our next dish both for the method of cooking (slow cooker) and the Mediterranean flavors. The Braised Meatball and Chickpea Pita is actually good “casual food” that would be great to have on hand for a day of watching football this fall (if you can convince your football watching buddies that pita, yogurt, and mint are manly enough for that kind of thing).
One thing that stood out for us was that without a slow cooker insert that can be used on the stove, you would need to use both a pan and the slow cooker. Don’t be fooled into thinking that any old slow cooker insert can be used on the stove top. I made that mistake once and let me tell you…it is not pretty. Picture it if you will, I’m almost through cooking a slow cooker pot roast. I find myself with a little too much juice, but I decide that I can reduce it down into a yummy gravy. So I pull the ceramic insert out of my slow cooker and transfer it to the stove top and turn on the flame. Just as things start coming up to a boil, I hear a loud POP and watch as the slow cooker insert promptly cracks into two pieces, threatening to spew my entire dinner all over the stove. A few curses later, I learn (the very hard way) that was a terrible idea. So unless you know for a fact that your slow cooker insert is stove top friendly, err on the side of caution and use two pots. Of course, after that incident we had to pitch the former slow cooker insert so we upgraded to a version that lets me safely brown, braise, and boil on the open flame.
The other thing we noted about this dish is that it is actually an excellent way to sneak some vegetables into your dinner without offending any strict carnivores. As you can see from the pictures, the meatballs have a surprising addition of spinach to them. I really like veggies, so I’m happy with that, but even if you have a picky eater, I’m guessing they won’t protest this one.
This is one were we can’t share the whole recipe, but in general you will assemble the meatballs, brown them off on the stove, then add them to the slow cooker with some chickpeas. Two hours later, make a delicious minty yogurt sauce, toast some pita, slice up some red onions and assemble your sandwiches. We thought the meatballs and chickpeas would also be really yummy over rice if you wanted to go that route instead of sandwiches.
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