Lamb has never really been my jam, if you will. I would never order it in a restaurant or anything, and it was fine when my dad would grill it at Easter (no knock on my dad, it was the lamb that was the problem, not the prep, everyone else loved it.) Those little lamb chops that people LOVE that come around on trays at parties and make people go nuts? Pass. So whatever in the world possessed me to make lamb meatballs one day is beyond me. I am so glad I did though, because I enjoyed my first attempt enough to keep futzing with the recipe, and now I LOVE these. Like LOVE them. And other people do too. A client told me they are the best meatballs he has ever had, so there you have it.
I have been making these for ages, but my delay in sharing is in NO WAY indicative of how much I like them. In fact, I do believe these will be one of my favorite things to end up on this here blog. The meatballs can stand on their own - I have put them in a pita with some tzatziki and feta and been quite pleased with myself - but this preparation is really something special. The harissa in this sauce really makes them sing. They are spicy and rich and flavorful and super filling. These are really perfect for this incoming cooler weather, and since I feel like mixing my metaphors, they are sturdy in the best way, but they don’t lack a sense of adventure. The sweet perfumy-ness of Jasmine rice is a really great foil for these; farro, orzo or even toast would also be excellent.
Fall really is the best, it is sunny and gorgeous and perfect for sleeping, and most importantly, it makes me want to cook. I want to make cookies and pasta and roasts, I want to have people over every night, and I want to go camping. This weather makes me want to feed people, so come on over, I’ll make you meatballs.
I have spent ALL DAY fighting with internet providers on the phone. It is a racket. I am moving to the woods.
Seester is officially a MA resident and I am PUMPED. Everyone is back on the east coast and all is right with the world.
I miss my four-legged roommate. I don’t even know who I am any more.
It has come to our attention recently that Shan and I are celebrating TWENTY YEARS of being friends next August, so we are planning a vacation somewhere fabulous. I have the best bestie. We are open to suggestions. It should involve a beach. Or a spa. Or amazing food.
Lamb Meatballs with Chickpeas and Harissa (Makes about 20 meatballs - Serves 4-6)
For the Meatballs
1 lb ground lamb
1 Small onion, divided, half minced, half diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbl minced parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbl canola oil to fry
Put all ingredients except for the canola oil in a mixing bowl and mix well with your hands to combine, being careful not to over mix. Portion into golf ball sized meatballs, I like to use a medium sized cookie scoop (it holds about a tablespoon and a half of meat mixture.)
Heat oil in heavy frying pan over medium heat, and fry the meatballs, in batches if necessary, turning frequently, until browned and crispy on the outside. (They will likely not be cooked through.) Remove browned meatballs to a plate and reserve cooking oil in the pan to make sauce.
For the Sauce
Remaining diced onion from above
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbl tomato paste
1 tbl harissa
1.5 cup chicken stock
1.5 cup coconut milk
2 14.5 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Additional salt and pepper to taste
Place the meatball pan over medium low heat and add diced onion and minced garlic and cook, stirring frequently until softened, 2-4 minutes, depending how hot the pan is. Add tomato paste and harissa, raise heat to medium, and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, while the tomato paste and harissa caramelizes, 2-3 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and let the chicken stock reduce to about one cup, stirring frequently, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and whisk to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer and add the meatballs. Cook meatballs in the sauce about five minutes. Add chickpeas, and cook five more minutes until sauce is reduced, flavors combine and meatballs are cooked through to your liking. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve sauce over rice or base of your choice!