My Recipe Box

Greek-Spiced Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

RATE IT

Serves four.

Yields 16 meatballs.

Spice up fresh tomato sauce and you have a rich gravy in which to simmer fragrant lamb meatballs. Garnish with tangy feta and serve with a Greek salad and rice or pitas.

For the meatballs:
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, preferably sourdough
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 3/4 lb. ground lamb, preferably shoulder meat
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbs. minced red onion
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. dried mint
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups Fresh Tomato Sauce 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. feta (preferably Greek), crumbled (scant 1 cup)
Make the meatballs:

Heat the oven to 400°F and lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk; let sit until the bread absorbs the milk, about 10 minutes.

Put the lamb in a medium bowl. Squeeze the excess milk out of the breadcrumbs and add them to the lamb. Add the egg, onion, parsley, oregano, garlic, mint, cinnamon, paprika, allspice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. With your hands or a rubber spatula, gently work the mixture together until thoroughly combined. Moisten your hands with cold water and shape the mixture into 16 balls (about the size of golf balls); arrange them on the baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs until cooked through and browned on top, 20 to 25 minutes.

Make the sauce:

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the oregano, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and allspice. Raise the heat to medium high and add the wine. Simmer for a minute or two until slightly reduced and then add the tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Let the sauce cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add more water if it seems too thick.

Add the baked meatballs to the sauce, turning to coat them. Cover the pan partially and cook until the meatballs are heated through, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the meatballs and sauce sprinkled with the feta.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 470; Fat (g): fat g 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 270; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 11; Protein (g): protein g 24; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 22; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1040; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 135; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Surprisingly our toddlers enjoyed this and we did too! Came together in under an hour and tasted quite rich and delicious. Only change was to use a can of crushed tomatoes instead of the sauce. Served with rice and a green salad. mmmm

We enjoyed these meatballs with a simple greek salad for dinner. I used ground beef instead of lamb, and used a good quality 28 oz. can of chunky tomato sauce as a shortcut :) They turned out great. We ate the meatballs with pita and feta cheese, but rice would be good also.

header

MEET THE CHEFS FROM SEASON ONE

Cookbooks, DVDs & More