Lamb Meatballs with Lettuce Wraps

Lamb Meatballs with Lettuce Wraps = Perfect Mid-Week Meal

I love this meal because it can be made ahead, it’s light enough for mid-day but also satisfying enough to call dinner, it’s seasonal, it’s well balanced, and it’s perfect for mid-week.  Plus, it can be arranged in a fun way to make a week-day meal more than just functional.  Let’s break it down:

– Lamb Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps: Ground Lamb with Middle Eastern Spices, plus Leafy Greens

– Strained Greek Yogurt with Dill:  Exactly what it sounds like, used as a cooling garnish to balance out the smoky spices in the meatballs, plus provide creamy texture.  Adds calcium (plus additional protein) to the meal.

– Harissa Sauce: A dot of harissa placed on a dollop of the yogurt gives a finishing kick, with a variation on the spice in the meatballs.

– Sliced Bread and Olive Oil:  Because I can’t go very long without these foods, plus it’s delicious spread with some of the yogurt and topped with a meatball to mix up the bites.

– Orange Slices: The perfect simple dessert after the layers of flavor listed above!

Servings: About 16 Mini-Meatballs, aka 2-3 Servings

Time: 1 Hour

Hands-On Time: 45 Minutes

Kitchen Equipment:  Mixing Bowl, Measuring Spoons, Heavy Non-Stick Frying Pan, Kitchen Tongs

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

– 1 Lb Ground Lamb – If possible, ask the butcher to grind lamb stew meat while you wait, or, grind it at home (the Kitchen Aid Stand-Mixer has a meat grinding attachment that’s very easy to use and clean.)

– 1/4 Tsp Cayenne

– 1 Tsp Ground Cumin

– 1 Tsp Ground Coriander

– 1 Tsp Sweet Paprika

– 1 Tbsp Coarsely Chopped Parsley

– 1/2 Tsp Salt

– 1/2 Tsp Pepper

– 2 Tbsp Canola Oil, Separated

For the Garnishes:

– Several leaves Butter, Oakleaf or Curly Lettuce, washed and dried

– 2/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt, preferably strained

– 3-4 Sprigs Fresh Dill

– 1 Tbsp Harissa Sauce

– 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil, for Dipping

– Sliced Fresh Bread

– One Peeled Orange Per Person

Steps:

For the Meatballs:

– Add all of the spices, plus the chopped parsley to a mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate.

– Add in the ground meat and using your hands, fold the spices and parsley into the meat until  evenly incorporated.

– Shape into small balls, about ping-pong sized, and set in a flat dish.  Set aside for now, or, cover and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

– When ready to cook, place the dish with the meatballs, plus a plate covered with two paper towels, next to the stove top.

– Measure one tbsp Canola Oil into the heavy-bottomed pan and carefully place about half the meatballs into the pan, allowing enough space between so that you can easily maneuver the Kitchen Tongs around each one.

Lamb Meatballs Ready to Cook

– Place the pan over medium-high heat and sear the bottoms about 30-45 seconds, then using the tongs turn the meatballs and continue to sear the sides.  Then, lower heat and cook 4-5 minutes more, until cooked through.

– Set cooked meatballs on the paper towel and repeat with the second batch.

– Place the cooked meatballs and lettuce on the same tray for ease of operations to and from and at the table.

Lamb Meatballs with Lettuce

For the Garnishes:

– Break off the dill leaves from the stalks and stir into the yogurt.  Serve in a small bowl.

– Set up yogurt, Harissa, bread and oil on a second tray or board, again for general ease of operations!

Garnishes for Lamb Meatballs with Lettuce Wraps

– Arrange dessert:

Dessert for Lamb Meatballs with Lettuce

– And you are ready to dig in!  Set up bites however you like.  I started with lettuce and added meatballs, yogurt and Harissa, then moved on to yogurt and meatballs on the bread.  Win-win!

Lamb Meatballs with Lettuce Wraps

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