Earlier this week when I asked my daily “What do you want for dinner?” Beloved started rummaging around in the freezer. After a few moments I heard, “Hey – we’ve still got a couple of pounds of ground lamb out here.”
So we took it out, and all that was left was to decide what to make out of it.
While I love lamb, ground lamb always seem to taste “stronger” to me than regular cuts – it’s probably due to the amount of fat. It holds up well to bold flavors, though, so I decided something Moroccan-spiced might be in order. After perusing the contents of my cupboard, fridge and spice rack I found myself putting this together.
Holy moly! This was just marvelous. The meatballs were moist and tender and deliciously spiced, and the sauce complimented them wonderfully; I served it over quinoa and alongside a summer squash sauté (I’m still trying to get rid of that stuff). We loved it so much that we ate the leftovers for lunch for the next two days – it makes a ton. I imagine it would freeze quite well, too.
Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients; the vast majority are spices, and this comes together pretty quickly and easily. I like to pre-bake meatballs for dishes like this; it helps the meatballs keep their shape and renders out some of the fat so that you don’t end up with a greasy sauce. In fact, both the calorie and fat content in the nutritional info are probably overstated somewhat because of this.
The best thing about this recipe – well, other than the fact that it’s incredibly delicious? It’s paleo, and Whole30 compliant to boot.
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped raisins
- 1/4 cup finely chopped black olives
- heaping 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- heaping 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 28-ounce can petite-diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth, preferably homemade
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Gently, but thoroughly, combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Form into 24 meatballs and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the meatballs are in the oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Sweat the onions until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes; add the garlic cinnamon stick, cumin and coriander and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes more.
- Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients except for the salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce to a simmer and add the meatballs. Continue simmering until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf before serving.
- Nutrition (per serving): 494 calories, 29.1g total fat, 165.1mg cholesterol, 899.8mg sodium, 1044.7mg potassium, 25.5g carbohydrates, 6.1g fiber, 6.3g sugar, 35.4g protein