These meatballs very versatile. They are very handy to have in the freezer and can be used in so many ways. You can adapt flavourings and spices to your own tastes. For instance, mint and lamb is a classic combination. I’m not a huge mint lover so I don’t use it but a little fresh mint in the mince would give it a nice freshness. You don’t have to use feta, leave it out altogether or substitute with a different cheese or a little roasted red pepper. I use breadcrumbs soaked in milk to stop the meatballs drying out while they cook. You can skip this step if you want to keep them wheat free.
I served them on a flatbread, with 1 tablespoon of red pepper hummus mixed with 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche, the pomegranate onions from this salad, chopped pistachios and fresh coriander. The onions really are delicious with them. For the flatbread, I used this recipe from Ottolenghi. They weren’t perfect, quite rustic in fact, but with a bit of practice I’m sure I’ll get there. I reckon I’m never going to get picture perfect bread anyway!
Other serving suggestions: cook in a spicy tomato sauce and serve with pasta; serve with couscous and a harissa and yogurt dressing; or serve them as a canape on a cocktail stick with some of the pomegranate drizzled over as a glaze.
Makes 20-24 meatballs
- 500g of minced lamb
- 2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- ½ tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 tsp of ground coriander
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon
- ¼ of fresh nutmeg grated
- 1 tbsp of lemon zest (approx 1 medium lemon, preferably unwaxed)
- Salt and pepper
- 6 spring onions, finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 35g of breadcrumbs
- 60ml of milk
- 75g of feta, cut into cubes slightly smaller than 1cm
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- Put the lamb, cumin, paprika, fennel seeds, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest into a bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together, making sure to break up the lamb so that there are no lumps and have everything mixed well together. Cover the bowl with cling film and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Even longer would be better.
- When you are ready to make the meatballs, put the breadcrumbs into a small bowl and mix with the milk. Allow that to sit for a bit and and it will become paste-like.
- Add the breadcrumbs, spring onions, garlic and salt and pepper to the lamb mince. Mix it well together. If you want to check the seasoning fry a little of the mixture just to taste and add more salt and pepper or spices if needed.
- Use a tablespoon measure to scoop out heaped spoons of the lamb. Put a cube of feta into the middle of the lamb and roll it into a ball. Repeat until you have used up all of the meat.
- You can put the meatballs back into the fridge at this stage if you like or if you are ready to cook them, heat the oil in a large shallow pan over a medium high heat. Brown the meatballs all over and then cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to medium low. Allow the meatballs to cook through for 8-10 minutes.
- If you want to make the meatballs in a tomato sauce, start cooking the sauce while you are assembling the meatballs. After browning them, add them to the sauce to simmer and cook through.