The Best Spiced Lamb Meatballs Recipe
Do you enjoy lamb dishes? If you do, you will love these spiced lamb meatballs. These have been an absolute hit in our household and I wanted to share with you the recipe that has brought us so many tasty moments.
These have been some of the juiciest, most tender meatballs I’ve ever tasted. It was the first time I’ve made meatballs from scratch – and by this I mean that I’ve ground up the meat myself. We have this old meat grinder that requires some elbow grease and burns a few calories, but the efforts have been well worth it. I loved being so involved in the preparation, and one of the big advantages of grinding the meat yourself is that you get to choose how much fat you put in. I made sure to grind a nice chunk of lamb fat into the mix without over-doing it. I am sure this was an important factor in the meatballs being so tender and juicy.
If you don’t want to grind the meat yourself, you can ask your butcher to grind it for you. For this recipe I used leg of lamb. In Croatia I haven’t seen ground meat available at the supermarkets so this is why I recommend a butcher.
I’ve decided to make spiced meatballs, and I’ve made two versions. In one, I used all the spices listed below except for Ras el Hanout. Ras el Hanout is a North African spice mix, used Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian cuisines. Now, the interesting thing is that there is no set mix. This means that every shop or producer has their own unique blend of spices that they use. The one I have and have used for this recipe has the following ingredients in it: turmeric, coriander, chili, fennel, salt, garlic, cumin, fenugreek, pepper, and ginger. In the second version, I used Ras el Hanout in addition to the other spices. This added another dimension of flavor, but if you can’t get it, don’t worry. Just use the ones I’ve listed below and you’ll get a delicious result as well. Alternatively, you can make your own spice mix and make a unique blend that will make your meatballs perfect for you!
600 gr ground lamb meat (leg of lamb)
1 red onion
5 cloves garlic
1 fennel (Stalks and fronds only)
Handful of parsley
3 pieces roasted red pepper in brine
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp sweet red paprika
Salt and pepper
optional: 1 tsp Ras el Hanout
1. If you aren’t able to find ground lamb meat, you can do it at home with a meat grinder. Grind 600 grams of lamb meat – for this recipe I used leg of lamb.
2. Transfer the ground meat to a bowl.
3. Finely chop one middle sized red onion and five cloves of garlic. Add to the meat.
4. Take one fresh fennel bulb and slice of the stalks and fronds (little fluffy leafy parts that stick out of the fennel bulb) and a handful of parsley. Chop them finely and add to the bowl.
5. Take three pieces of roasted red peppers in brine and mince them until they start resembling a paste. Before adding the peppers to the meat, squeeze them in your hands to take out the excess brine/moisture.
6. Add the seasonings: oregano, cumin, cinnamon, sweet red paprika, salt and pepper, and an egg. If you want a very aromatic, spiced version add a bit of Ras el Hanout as well. Mix everything well.
7. Finally, add two tablespoons of rice flour and incorporate it into the mixture with a spatula.
8. Use your hands to form the meatballs, making sure they are evenly sized and not too big.
9. Let the meatballs rest for half an hour. They will release excess moisture if there is any from the vegetables we’ve added.
10. In a large pan, heat up 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of ghee. Let it heat on medium low heat.
11. If the meatballs have released moisture, dab the bottom ends of the meatballs on a paper towel before placing them in the pan. This will ensure that the oil doesn’t start attacking everybody in its vicinity.
12. Cook the meatballs on medium low heat for a total of 10-12 minutes. Let them cook through on one side and get a nice caramelized surface before carefully flipping them on the other side and letting them do the same on the other side.
13. Serve immediately, and top with some more chopped parsley. Bon appetit!