Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lamb Meatballs

I was looking for something to make for dinner recently and remembered seeing a yummy looking lamb recipe on the The Small Boston Kitchen, so I decided to give it a go. The recipe was actually for Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs, and being a lamb lover, it sounded like a great way to bring this protein into my kitchen.

Lamb Meatballs!
I will say Savenor's came up big on this evening. They did not have ground lamb packaged, so I had to ask the friendly butchers behind the counter for some. At first they went in the back to check, but still nothing. They said that I could buy the whole top roast and grind that up, but that was a lot more money than I wanted or needed to spend. So, just as I was about to start figuring out something else to cook, the butchers checked again and sure enough, they had enough lamb scraps (from the top roast), which they ground up for me - thank you Savenor's!

The Ingredients
The Necessitites...
  • 1 pound ground lamb meat
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic - chopped
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Now, you may be wondering where the "Moroccan" comes in. The original recipe called for a 1/2 tablespoon of Ras el hanout, which is a pre-mixed combination of spices. Thought Savenor's has a pretty extensive spice rack, on this particular night it was not available. Instead, I gathered all the Moroccan spices I had in our spice shelf and figured I could make it work. Turns out we had quite a few on hand - chili powder, cumin, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and coriander.

Lots of spice!
To begin, I chopped up the onion - it was actually one of the delicious red onions from our CSA, and really more of a red onion/scallion combination.

Chopped Onion
I put the onion in a saute pan with some olive oil and a bit of salt and cooked it until it was tender, at which point I added the chopped garlic. After another couple of minutes, I went ahead and added a dash of all the spices, hoping to land somewhere near the tablespoon called for by the recipe. I allowed it all to cook for another minute or so and then removed it from the heat.

While the onion was cooking, I combined the parsley, mint, molasses and the mustard in a large bowl.

Almost ready for the meat
Next, I added the ground lamb and, using my hands, mixed it all together, making sure not to go too crazy and over-work the meat. Once the onion mixture cooled a bit, I added that to the bowl and mixed again.

Meat Mixture
Once the meat and its components were all mixed up I formed it into balls that were a bit bigger than a tablespoon a piece and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Once ready to go, I put the cookie sheet into a 350 degree over and allowed the meatballs to cook for about a half hour. They probably could have used a little less time in oven, but it was hard to tell!

In the oven
These did produce a lot of oil on the sheet pan - beware! While the meatballs were cooking, I cut up the zucchini and summer squash we had from our CSA and sauteed them in some olive oil until them were just tender for a nice colorful side dish.

Zucchini and Summer Squash
I ended up serving the meatballs "sub style" in a toasted hot dog bun (we had some on hand to use up)...

On A Roll!
But also, I served them just on the plate.

Dinner is served
Either way, the lamb meatballs were really tasty. All the spices and the lamb meat added a really fun flavor to a relatively traditional dish. Even with my crazy combination of spices the dish worked - I could have even added some more! Being a lamb lover, this dish totally worked and you really can make it all your own depending on what you add. Having always been afraid of making lamb at home this was a great first step - a good confidence builder, that's for sure.


  1. I definitely need to cook more with ground lamb. It's so yummy and a nice change from your typical chicken and beef. These meatballs looks delicious!

  2. Awesome! Good work on the improvising! These look great!

  3. Savenor's is really great. I live near the other one. The meatballs look tasty!!

  4. I have never made anything with lamb. these sound so tasty. i love how accommodating Savenor's was!


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