Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lamb Meatballs in Mint Tomato Sauce - April Secret Recipe Club Recipe

With the cool crisp and long farming days around here I have been pulling out some simple comfort food dinners. One of my favorites to make from scratch are meatballs.

Just mix, cook and then simmer slowly in a sauce and dinner is done. Now, I have posted several meatball recipes here on the blog, but this one is different, this one uses lamb.

Not a fan? Have you ever tried cooking with lamb? Since I try to get our meat locally, lamb is a great option. Here in Oregon we have a long history of sheep covered grazing land. This county in particular has a long history of sheep. In 1865 Doughlas County had over 40,000 sheep. You can still see several acres of sheep grazing along Interstate 5.

Since it is April, it is time again to reveal who my Secret Recipe Club blog was and tell you a bit more about this delicious little meatballs.

Secret Recipe Club 

This month I was assigned The Bitchin' Kitchin' food blog. Ellie's blog offers a great buffet of mouth-watering food photography and recipes to inspire her readers to get cooking. She has a wide range of recipes listed and I have to say the Biscoff Cheeseball was the first treat to catch my eye. We just love Biscoff around here, but no, I was looking for a full meal. 

When I came across the Lamb Meatballs in Mint Tomato Sauce recipe, I knew it was "the one". I don't come across many recipes using lamb, so I am always curious. I have to say that this recipe really lived up to expectations. It was simple to make, hearty and delicious. It was also unique from anything else I have tried in meatball form.

Homemade meatballs are so simple to make and so much better than frozen! Just grab a big bowl, take off the rings and dive right in. Don't squeeze too hard, just mix and gently form into balls.

I use my smallest cookie scoop to get uniform sized meatballs. I like them small, that is my preference.

I like to brown mine in the cast iron skillet with canola oil (due to oil temp smoking issues) and then let them simmer for a good 30 minutes in the sauce. It makes for one tender meatball.

I love how the lamb and the combination of spices worked together. My house smelled Ah-mazing! Garnished with just a touch more mint and served over a base of couscous, it was a great meal.

Shall I hand you a fork? ...or how about just a large serving spoon?

Lamb Meatballs in Minto Tomato Sauce

You will need:
For the meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1/4 c. yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. mint, chopped
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil for frying the meatballs
For the Mint Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1 (14 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Assemble all your ingredients. I also set up 2 baking pans, 1 with waxed paper for all of my rolled balls and another lined with foil for my finished meatballs to sit as I work in batches.

Grab a big bowl and mix in all the ingredients except for the oil. Using a small cookie scoop, create uniform meatballs and set aside on the wax paper. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium with canola oil. Work in batches to brown all sides of the meatball. Remove cooked meatballs to the foil lined pan and continue with the remaining meatballs.

In a large pan, saute the onion in a little olive oil. Toss in the garlic for one minute till it becomes fragrant. Deglazed the pan with wine, then add the tomatoes, herbs and spices to the pan. Bring the sauce up to a boil. Add the meatballs back into the pan, and reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Make your couscous according to the package directions.

Serve the meatballs and sauce mixture ladled over a big scoop of couscous, garnish with finely chopped mint leaves.


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