Don’t be thrown off by their title. These meatballs are not hot but have wonderful earthy flavor from the cumin, garlic and fresh parsley. This recipe calls for the meat to be skewered and placed on a platter with the tzatziki but during football season, I serve them in a split, toasted pita pocket or grilled flat-bread. I believe the addition of sliced tomatoes and mixed greens makes it a one handed- complete meal.
Use a light hand when forming the meatballs: a gentle touch ensures that the meat will not be compacted or overheated by contact with your hands, and that the resulting mouthfuls will be light and tender. In a pinch, you can cook and cool the meatballs, refrigerate them for up to four hours, and then reheat in a 350 degree oven until heated through- 10 to 20 minutes.
Spicy lamb meatballs with tzatziki
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, very finely chopped
1 lb ground lamb
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fine, dried breadcrumbs
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped or pushed through a press
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups plain Greek style yogurt (such as Fage)
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely grated
pita or flat-bread
One and a half to 4 1/2 hours before serving time: In a frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 6 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add the lamb, eggs, parsley, bread crumbs, cumin, three quarters of the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Using your hands, combine the ingredients and form the mixture into golf ball size balls, rolling them lightly between your palms. Place on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Remove the meatballs from the fridge and preheat the broiler to high; place an oven rack about 4 inches below the heat source. Broil the meatballs, turning once with tongs, until brown and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the tzatziki: In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, the remaining garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if desired. Skewer each meatball and place on a platter. Place a bowl of tzatziki in the center and transfer to a buffet, or pass at once.
***If making a Greek sandwich, toast the pita or flat-bread. Place 2 or 3 balls in the center, tomatoes on one side, lettuce on another and top with the tzatziki.
Recipe via the Tavern on the Green. I’m loving all the recipes from this book.