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Holiday Appetizers: Aussie Lamb Ragu Egg Rolls with Warm Ricotta Dip


Ok, so I know the photo looks yummy, but this is actually my "Plan B" recipe. It's a fail.

I REALLY wanted to make these gluten-free. I had the rice paper ready, the vegetable oil heated and the Aussie Lamb Ragu ON POINT. Yeah. It turns out you can't fry rice paper. I'm so stupid. I should've realized that when the first step with the rice paper was to soak them in water. Have you ever put water into heated oil?! It's not good. So after a massive splatter fest, smoke alarms, and a few minor burns on my hand I decided to use the regular, wheat flour-based, square egg roll wrappers. Sorry guys!

I have SO many friends and family members that have chosen to go gluten-free for so many different reasons. Some of them get migraine headaches, some of them get heartburn, and some of them are just trying to maintain their beautiful bodies over the holidays. I respect that. And if I have gluten-free people, you have gluten-free people too. Which means we ALL need gluten-free recipes for the people we love over the holidays. This is not one of them. I have failed you as an influencer. So, you and me, my fellow gluttonous and glutenous people can just sneak off into the corner by ourselves and eat these when nobody is watching. 'CUZ THEY'RE GOOODDD!!!!!

Today's short-cut: Use jar Marinara Sauce. If you've got your own wonderful recipe; if your Italian grandmother will TURN over in her grave if she sees you opening a jar of Prego, use it. Otherwise, shave off some time and seasoning woes by popping the top and pouring away. My favorite? TRADER JOE'S Tomato Basil Marinara.

Aussie Lamb Ragu Eggrolls with Warm Ricotta Dip

Prep Time: 30 minutes / Cook Time: 1.5 hours / Servings: about 24 eggrolls

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Aussie ground lamb (Open Nature from Safeway)

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 jars Marinara Sauce

  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced

  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 1 cup red wine (I use a sweet Pino Noir)

  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed

  • salt/pepper

  • 1 package large, square egg roll wrappers

  • 8 oz. Ricotta cheese, warm and softened

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, warm and softened

  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder

  • 1/4 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning

  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

  • vegetable oil for frying

  • salt/pepper

Steps:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the Aussie ground lamb, the bell pepper, garlic and yellow onion. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook on medium heat until the lamb is browned and the veggies are soft, about 7 minutes.

  2. Add in the Marinara sauce, the red wine and brown sugar. Stir well, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let the liquids simmer down for about 1 hour until almost gone, stirring occasionally. You want the stirring spoon to leave an empty trail at the bottom of the pot when it's done and your kitchen to smell like a sweet and savory heaven. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

  3. While the sauce is simmering, make the warm Ricotta dip. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Ricotta and cream cheeses, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning and 1/2 of the shredded Italian cheese. Stir to combine until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a 6" cake pan or other round baking dish. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until hot and bubbling. Open the oven, sprinkle the dish with the remaining shredded cheese and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned.

  5. Heat the frying oil in a large pan to 325 degrees. Place one of the egg roll wrappers on a flat surface, with the points to the top and bottom and to the sides (diamond shaped). Use a slotted spoon to completely drain about 1/4 cup of the Aussie Lamb Ragu and place it in the center of the egg roll wrapper. Fold the sides into the center, wetting the corners slightly to seal them. Fold the rest of the egg roll up like a burrito (bottom edge to the top, rolling and folding the sides in as you go). Wet the final corner to seal the egg roll, and repeat until the rest of the egg rolls are wrapped. Fry each of the egg rolls in the hot oil, 2-3 at a time for 1-2 minutes per side. Place the fried egg rolls onto a plate that's been lined with a paper towel to drain. Repeat until the rest of the egg rolls are fried, crispy and golden.

  6. Arrange the egg rolls on a large serving platter with the warm Ricotta dip in the center. Garnish the Ricotta dip with the chopped fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Not near a Safeway for Aussie Lamb Products? Find your nearest location here.


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