Posted on April 1, 2012


Not every recipe I share with you earns an exclamation point in the title. This is my humble opinion of this recipe, I’ll let you be the judge.

I attempted to share this post with you on Friday, but realized that I was going to struggle while blogging about the two things that I had given up during the fast of holy week–meat and coffee.

I combined two recipes I found online, to emphasize the fresh herbs/spices for the meatballs, and to use lamb meat, rather than standard beef. Way better, need I tell you. And ground lamb, while certainly pricier, is worth it’s weight in nutrients…for more info, see here. Those who have had this argument with me at work should laugh…

Adapted primarily from Tapena Wines website (tapas pairings section)

1 1/2 lb. ground lamb
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (can be regular or panko)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup minced onion
1/3 cup diced red pepper (I used orange, liked the sweet mellowness with the lamb meat)
1-2 cloves minced garlic

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp coriander, maybe dash of cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt, pepper to taste

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup diced onion
1-2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup dry red wine

¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 – 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

few sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp minced parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F. Gently mix breadcrumbs, onions, bell peppers, meat, egg white, coriander, garlic, etc in a larger bowl.

Combine, also gently (I’m laughing at how often this word was used in the original recipe).  Was this written for me? Gently is my middle name. Scoop and shape into balls, place on a cookie sheet, makes about 48. Bake for 12 minutes.

For sauce: Heat oil, then add onion cooking until soft, then add wine, garlic, pepper. Simmer until wine reduced by half (definitely didn’t do any of this–see whoops note below! Add tomatoes and other spices, and simmer on low for 12-15 minutes. Add meatballs, parsley and coat to toss. Gently, always gently.

A near-whoops story: we had cooked the meatballs at home, then brought them with us piping-hot on an hr long subway ride. I also had the ingredients for the sauce in bags and cans, ready to whip together. The overwhelming smell which pervaded our entire subway car was one of garlic, and my husband complained that I was ruining his palate before we even got to the tasting. I know I was a little over-zealous on the garlic (I’ve been known for that…and butter…), but in the last analysis, it wasn’t an overwhelming part of the taste, and everyone loved them, so feel free to do what makes you happy.

The REAL whoops for this recipe is laughable…I forgot to add wine to the sauce (while at a Spanish wine tasting, with 8 open bottles of Spanish wine around!)…somehow no one seemed to worry–we were pretty drenched in wine ourselves by the time these passed our lips.