Lamb Meatballs

Lamb Meatballs, spiked with feta

Recently I shared a recipe for Sauteed Corn with Black Beans and Bell Peppers. And then I shared a recipe for Blackberry Cheesecake. I was too excited about both of them to contain myself. 

What I really should have been telling you about is something I briefly covered on Making Language Count. It’s something I feel like I need to shout about, if only so enough people know that I can’t pretend I didn’t say it. (There’s nothing like facing a good dose of public shame to keep a girl’s head on straight!)

I’ve been caught up. I’ve been soooo busy working that it’s consumed my life – literally. I went to Watershed – a three day music festival extravaganza and I worked! 

As much as the last 100ish words were a woe-is-me moment, let me clarify. As of August 11, my LLC is three years old. The early mornings, the late nights, and the crazy long hours of writing, editing, and networking are paying off. And, I couldn’t be more thrilled. 

Yeah, I worked at Watershed. But, it was my choice to do so and I wouldn’t have that choice if I weren’t in business for myself.

However, I’ve also taken the time to look at how I have grown, where I’m headed, and what I want to accomplish. And, I realized one concrete truth – I haven’t consciously spent time in the spaces of life that fill me up.

I haven’t been blogging here on Baguette Taste – Wonder Bread Budget or here on Making Language Count. I’ve been writing for clients – amazing clients. I have the best clients. They are kind. They are driven. And, they have stories to tell.

I love telling stories. Like this one about a seaplane wedding and this one about a woman entrepreneur. 

But, I haven’t been writing for me. The funny thing about putting your head down and just work, work, working is that you don’t always work smart. Sometimes you just work more. My entire life this has been a hard lesson. And, it’s one I’ll probably have to be reminded of again and again. I think it’s the athlete in me. Or the Cowles. Who can really be sure?

So here’s my promise – I’m going to blog once a week in this space and once a week on my Making Language Count blog. I’ve set aside three hours a week, Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 5:00 AM – 6:00 AM to write.

Because, it really is a necessity to tell you about things like these Lamb Meatballs. They’re just too good not to share.

Lamb Meatballs, spiked with feta
This recipe is a variation of one found on Smitten Kitchen.

8 TBS water (See Notes: 1)
2 pounds ground lamb
1 large egg
1¼ cups breadcrumbs (Panko works great)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¾ tsp salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 TBS chopped parsley
Zest of half a lemon
2 TBS olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 glugs dry vermouth (optional, See Notes: 2)
1 28-ounce (795 grams) can of crushed or pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Zest of half a lemon
¾ tsp salt (plus more as needed to taste)
1 – 2 pinches red pepper flakes (more as needed to taste)
1/3 cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives (See Note: 3)
1 TBS thinly sliced mint leaves
2 TBS roughly chopped parsley
Juice of one lemon (about 2 TBS)
¼ cup crumbled feta, for garnish

In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients except the oil. Scoop up 3 TBS of the mixture and gently roll it into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and shiny, carefully place meatballs in pan, spacing them evenly. Carefully turn them, so they brown on each side. (Don’t worry if some bits and pieces stick to the pan. These will get scraped into the sauce later.)

Line a plate with a paper towel. Transfer browned meatballs to lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 1 TBS fat from pan and return to medium heat.

Add onion and sauté until it begins to soften (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add vermouth and scrape the bits stuck to the pan. Cook until liquid has almost disappeared.

Add tomatoes, oregano, lemon zest, salt, pepper flakes, olives, mint, and parsley. Bring mixture to a simmer. Return meatballs to the pan. Cover with a lid and simmer as low as possible for 20 – 25 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over meatballs and serve topped with feta.

You can serve these as is, on top of pasta (orzo is great) and/or with crusty bread.

Recipe Notes:
1 – This recipe calls for browning the meatballs. I highly recommend this. It really adds a lot more flavor. But, if you’re going to skip this step, reduce the water added to the meatballs to 3 TBS. This will help them stick together better. 

2 – While the alcohol here is optional, it’s a really great flavor boost. Not only does it add an extra layer on its own, but it allows you to easily deglaze the pan and scrape up all the bits from browning the meatballs.

I recommend dry vermouth as I typically have it on hand and it doesn’t require opening a new bottle of something that might spoil. But, if you’re going to drink wine, a red or dry white would also work nicely.

3 – While you might want to save a few pennies per ounce with jarred olives, don’t. This recipe doesn’t call for many and the flavor difference is significant enough you’ll want the fresh ones.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.