Meatballs. Just the mention of this word conjures up images of Italian grandmas plating mounds of spaghetti topped with homemade tomato sauce. Meatballs are often a mixture of ground beef and pork with egg and breadcrumbs as a binder. Everyone has his or her favorite recipe and the jury is still out on the best preparation—pan-fried or oven baked.
We must admit though, not all meatballs are Italian. What about Swedish meatballs in their rich brown gravy? Or how about the sweet & sour meatballs that adorned every potluck in the 70’s and 80’s? I have yet to meet a meatball I didn’t like. When Firsthand Foods began its lamb program, I started recipe testing with our ground lamb. This is a versatile product and would be great in any Italian style meatball; however, the mention of the word lamb has me thinking Greek or Mediterranean cuisine. Thus, our Greek Lamb Meatball recipe was born. Our ground lamb has a great texture and flavor, which means that I didn’t have to add many ingredients or any binders. Our gluten-free and egg allergy customers will be glad to know that this recipe holds up just fine without those binders. Try them in a pita or lettuce wrap or make them mini and serve with a tzatziki dipping sauce at your next party.
- 1 package Firsthand Foods Ground Lamb
- 12 large mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. lemon zest
- Salt & pepper
- 3 Tbs. Olive Oil
For Tzatziki Dipping Sauce:
- 1 c. diced cucumber, peeled & seeds removed
- 1 – 8 oz. container plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped mint leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- Juice from ½ of a lemon
For the Meatballs:
- Place ground lamb, mint leaves, garlic, ground cinnamon, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add ½ tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, thoroughly mix ingredients together.
- Using a small spoon, scoop out 2-3 Tbs. of the ground lamb mixture at a time and using your hands, roll into a small meatball. Place meatballs on a plate in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
- Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add meatballs and cook for about 15-17 minutes over medium heat, rotating regularly to allow browning on all sides.
For Tzatziki Sauce:
- Place cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat and place a bowl on top of the cucumbers to act as a press. This allows moisture to release from the cucumbers, making the sauce thicker.
- Drain cucumbers and add to a mixing bowl.
- Add additional ingredients and stir to combine.
Serve with Greek Lamb Meatballs.
Makes approx. 12 meatballs