A hobby is a marvelous thing. Just as cooking is one of mine, raising lambs is a side gig for one of my colleagues. She raises them lovingly, feeds them organically, and mostly sells them for wool and breeding, but a few end up going to local restaurants and foodies like me. Consequently, I’ve been experimenting a lot with lamb recipes this past year or so.
This week I think I hit on a brainstorm that combines my love of bite size treats (meze, tapas, hors d’oeuvres, whatever) with a fridge-clearing exercise, which I find is often where the best recipe brainstorms are born. Where I ended up is a cross between a Swedish meatball and tepsi. So far it has made for a quick dinner and a lovely lunch this week, an excellent reward for about 20 minutes of actual cooking effort.
1 lb. ground lamb
1/3 cup crumbled feta
2 teaspoons Moroccan Spice Mix (I get mine from the Spice House; Penzey’s Turkish Blend works well too)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper (because the feta is already salty)
Mix together all ingredients and form them into meatballs that are no larger than golf balls. (I use the small ice cream scoop I use to make cookies for portion control)
Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and, on medium high heat, brown the meatballs on all sides. They won’t be done in the middle yet but will leave lots of crispy bits on the bottom of the pan that will add to the flavor of the sauce.
Once the meatballs have browned, spoon out half of the oil left in the pan and add:
1 cup chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
1 soup sized can of tomato sauce
Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, then turn down to simmer and let the meatballs bathe in this stove top hot tub until they are cooked through and the liquid is reduced to the consistency of a good pasta sauce. In my case that took about 15 minutes, long enough to enjoy a cup of tea and watch a recorded cooking show sans commercials.
Serve with or without your favorite starch (rice, pasta and polenta all work fine) as well as a dollop of greek yogurt. If you don’t want starch but do want a side, roasted eggplant is the ideal partner.
If you’re making these as an hors d’oeuvre, make the meatballs a bit smaller (the size of a large marble) and stir a cup of greek yogurt into the sauce just before serving. Tip them into a chafer as you would any warm bite size treat, and serve with a side of toothpicks.