Lamb Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce

Thanks to co-op member Marilyn Moors for submitting this recipe ! 

Lamb Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce 

from Suzanne Goin’s A.O.C. Cookbook via Sam Sifton in the NY Times;

About one hour prep time; four servings.  I made a double batch for Memorial Day weekend and they were a great hit.  Since the spices are North African and goat is also a North African meat, these might work just as well with ground goat! 


For the meatballs:

  •    1 medium onion, finely diced
  •    ¼ c heavy cream
  •    2 egg yolks, extra large
  •    ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  •    1 tsp ground cumin
  •    pinch red pepper flakes
  •    pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  •    2 lbs. ground lamb
  •    salt and black pepper
  •    1 cup bread crumbs
  •    ¼ cup chopped parsley

For the sauce:

  •    1   28 ounce can of whole tomatoes
  •    3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  •    1 sprig rosemary
  •    red pepper flakes to taste
  •    1 medium onion, diced
  •    ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
  •    ½ tsp ground cumin
  •    pinch ground cinnamon
  •    pinch cayenne pepper
  •    1 bay leaf
  •    ½ tsp white sugar
  •    ¼ cup orange juice
  •    1  3" strip of orange peel, pith removed
  •    salt and pepper to taste


For the topping:

  •    4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  •    2 tbsp thinly sliced mint leaves

1) Preheat broiler. In a large bowl, mix together the onion, cream, egg yolks, cinnamon, cumin, red pepper and cayenne.  Put the lamb in the bowl and season it generously with salt and pepper. Add the bread crumbs and parsley. Combine the mixture well. Shape into balls a little larger than golf balls.

2) Grease a baking pan with olive oil and put the meatballs, evenly spaced, on it. Place beneath the broiler until well browned, turning as necessary, 5-7 minutes. Set meatballs aside. Turn oven to 400º.

3) Make the sauce.  Run the tomatoes quickly through a food processor and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, and add the rosemary and red peppers and shake to combine. Cook for another minute, then add onion, thyme, cumin, cayenne and bay leaf and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, orange juice and peel, along with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes over medium-low heat to reduce by about one-third. Adjust seasonings.

4) Pour the tomato sauce into a large serving dish (ovenproof). Transfer the meatballs to the sauce, leaving about ½ inch space between them. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through.

5) Top with crumbled feta cheese and scattered mint. Serve alone or with pasta, couscous, or rice.