Moroccan lamb meatball feast
The flavours of Morocco are a match made in heaven with New Zealand lamb. Not only is this recipe fresh, healthy and simple to make, it tastes better than greasy old fast food! I’ll eat my hat if your family doesn’t gobble it up and ask for more. For gluten-free, try serving the meatballs with rice or drained chickpeas and serving it as a big salad – and use gluten-free breadcrumbs in the meatballs.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
500g Quality Mark lamb mince
1 medium or ½ a large onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp cinnamon
⅓ cup couscous soaked in ⅓ cup boiled water (or use regular/GF dried breadcrumbs soaked in ¼ cup milk)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
⅓ cup finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
Scrumptious yoghurt sauce
¾ cup unsweetened plain yoghurt
½ cup mayonnaise
Zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tsp juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ cup finely chopped fresh coriander (or parsley/basil/mint)
Pitas, flatbreads, or wraps (or GF wraps, cooked rice or chickpeas for gluten free)
Mixed salad dressed with a little olive oil and lemon juice – with lovely ingredients such as lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and thinly sliced red onion
Feta and olive crush, optional (see tips below)
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Add the cumin seeds to a small frying pan and cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add to a mixing bowl along with all the other meatball ingredients. Add ½ tsp ground pepper and ½ tsp salt. Using your clean hands, scrunch it all up until well combined. Roll into golf-ball sized balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until needed (this helps them retain their shape when cooked, too).
Add 1 tbsp of rice bran or grape seed oil to a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add half the meatballs. Brown as evenly as possible all over. Turn gently using tongs, being careful not to break them.
Cook for another 5 or so minutes, turning to brown all over until cooked through. Transfer to a warmed plate, cover with foil and repeat with the remaining meatballs.
To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine (you can use a small food processor if you have one). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bake the pitas or wraps in the oven for 10 minutes or until warmed through.
To serve, spread some hummus on a pre-warmed wrap, pita or flatbread. Top with meatballs, salad, feta and the yoghurt sauce.
- To make a feta and olive crush, combine ½ cup finely chopped olives with ½ cup of crumbled feta and a squeeze of lemon juice. It’s tangy and delicious and makes the flavours of the meatballs sing.
- Don’t worry if you don’t have all the spices – as long as you get the cumin and coriander in there you’ll have a nice flavour.
- You can try squeezing the mince mixture around skewers and barbecuing them for an extra smoky summer flavour.
- To pickle the red onion like I have, add sliced onion to a bowl with 2 tsp lemon juice and a big pinch of salt. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes then squeeze out and serve.