April Bloomfield’s Lamb Meatballs

by Anne Maxfield on October 18, 2012

Although after the last blog, you might think the Accidental Locavore had enough meatballs to last for a while (and you would be right, clever reader), however I made these shortly after seeing April Bloomfield speak at the James Beard House. She said she obsessed over them in writing her cookbook, so I do feel a little guilty not sticking to the recipe she felt she perfected, but I was trying to speed up the process. This feeds 2 generously.

Lamb Meatballs

Serves 2
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
The Accidental Locavore makes April Bloomfield's lamb meatballs with yogurt and mint. Lamb meatball main course recipe.

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1lb ground lamb (see verdict below)
  • 1 tablespoon Maldon sea salt
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Sauce

  • 1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground corriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 spicy chile, pierced with a sharp knife (I used a red jalapeno)
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, 14 ounces, drained, and squished with your hands
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs

Garnish

  • mint leaves and cilantro for garnish
  • good olive oil for sprinkling on top

Directions

Step 1
Mix the lamb, breadcrumbs and salt. Form into smooth, golf-ball sized balls. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large sauce pan with a lid, over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the meatballs and cook until they have a dark brown crust on all sides. If they start to burn, turn the heat down, you don’t want to cook them too quickly. When they’re done, transfer them to a plate. This should take about 12-15 minutes. Drain half the fat from the pot.
Step 2
Lower the heat to medium-high, add the onion, garlic and salt, and cook, stirring until the onion is soft and lightly browned and the garlic is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, chile, and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.
Step 3
Turn the heat to low, add the tomatoes, and simmer gently until the tomatoes start to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes. Add the water and raise the heat to bring to a boil, then turn it down to a steady simmer and cook for 5 minutes more. Transfer half the sauce to a blender, and blend until it’s smooth and airy (it will be lighter than the sauce still in the pan). Stir it back into the pot. Add the meatballs and their juices and stir to coat with the sauce. Cover the pot and let it gently simmer for 30 minutes.
Step 4
To finish: turn the heat to low, add the yogurt in blobs around the pot. Crack the eggs into the sauce. Sprinkle with the mint, cilantro and olive oil. Cover, turn the heat to medium and cook until the eggs are just set about 8-10 minutes. Serve, making sure everyone gets an egg and some yoghurt, and enjoy!

My verdict: these were really tasty, if a little dense. April has you grind the lamb with the breadcrumbs and that might make them a little more tender. However, I had ground a bunch of lamb myself earlier (for merguez), so I’m not convinced that’s the issue. During the Meatball Madness, the lamb meatballs I had there were also a little tough, so it could just be that lamb doesn’t have the fat content that beef or pork does. Next time I might add a little beaten egg to the mix to see if that would help. The sauce was good, and might have been great, if I had done what the recipe said, and used whole coriander and cumin, toasted them and ground them, but remember I was trying to save some time. Homemade yogurt helped (and do not try to substitute reduced fat yogurt, you’ll have a mess on your hands!) and Frank liked the addition of the (slightly overcooked) egg. I’ll definitely make these again in a couple of months when I’m ready to re-embrace meatballs.

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