Monday, November 15, 2010

Moroccan-Style Lamb Meatballs

(from this Williams-Sonoma recipe)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 red onion, very finely chopped
1 lb. ground lamb
3 large garlic cloves, crushed through a press
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  leaves, finely chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves,
  finely chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more,
  to taste
Lemon wedges for squeezing and garnish

  1. Lightly oil a shallow-rimmed baking sheet. 
  2. In a fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
  3. Add the lamb, garlic, eggs, parsley, chopped mint, cumin, cinnamon, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper to the bowl with the onion. Combine the ingredients thoroughly with your hands. Fry a small pinch of the mixture, taste, and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut, rolling them very lightly in the palms of your hands. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Preheat a broiler. Place the meatballs about 4 inches from the heat source and broil, turning once with tongs, until brown and crispy on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove the baking sheet from the broiler and transfer the meatballs to a platter.
  5. Squeeze some lemon juice over the meatballs and arrange the remaining lemon wedges and mint sprigs on the platter. Using a cocktail pick, skewer each meatball. Serve immediately. Makes about 42 warm bites.

Note: The meatballs can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before cooking. Remove them from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking. If desired, cook and cool the meatballs, refrigerate them for up to 4 hours, and then reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through, 10 to 20 minutes.

The recipe for these meatballs calls for breadcrumbs, but I found that the eggs and the fat in the ground lamb keep them together, without them. I served these with this Cucumber Raita, but use lemon juice (as the recipe suggests) for a totally Paleo-friendly hors d'oeuvres. 

Cucumber Raita:

1 Seedless Cucumber, peeled and finely grated
1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (or use Regular Coconut Milk* that has been refrigerated, to thicken)
1 Tbs. Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/2 tsp. Minced Garlic
1/4 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
Black Pepper, to taste

*Add the juice of 1/2 lime, if you substitute coconut milk, to give the sauce some acidity.


Amy said...

Hey Jen! Scott told me over the weekend about your blog....I love to cook as well and I will add you to my google reader for great healthy ideas!! Hope to see you guys soon!

Pam King said...

Hi! I've made these once before for dinner and they're delicious! I plan to make them for a party on Tuesday but would like to do the prep Monday night. Do you think I could do everything but the cooking up to 24-hours in advance? (I'd wait to make the sauce.) Or would I be better off cooking them the day before as well? I plan to keep them warm in a crock pot at the party.

jencereghino said...

Pam~ I would cook them on Monday (so you don't have to worry about any extra party prep) and then just add them to your crockpot about an hour before your party, to reheat. There's enough fat in the lamb to keep them moist. I hope that helps!

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