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Friday, January 7, 2011

Lamb mini-Meatball Pita

We're pretty much past the point where we "hide" ingredients from the kids.  I mean, they're pretty open-minded when it comes to food (like they have another choice)...but they are still kids.  Up until recently I'd never really had a source for lamb.  But since I stumbled across one, I can't get enough!  Lamb is really a delicious meat. I've always loved gyros...and lamb shanks...but they were always an every "once in a while" thing I'd order when I was out.  I rarely eat out.  My point being that I made mini meatballs the other night from lamb.  And didn't tell the kids that it was lamb they were eating. kids...are bound to conjure up sweet images in their heads of petting zoos and nursery I figured I'd just wait until they were done eating.  Then I just decided not to mention it at all.  Unless they asked.  They all LOVED the meatballs.  And it turns out that Sweet Thang is an complete lamb aficionado. Albeit, unbeknownst to him. Whoda thunk it? I almost hate pulling the wool over his eyes{Ba dum bum} Almost.  Oh sure...the fact that the kids adore lamb at least in mini-meatball form...will be thrown in their face revealed sooner or later, but until that  day comes, I say...Who's up for a mini meatball sammich!?
 Aromatic Lamb Meatballs
makes: ~80 mini meatballs
1 lb. ground lamb
¼ c. finely chopped scallions
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. semolina
1 egg 
coconut oil, for frying
Put the lamb into a bowl and add the scallions. Sprinkle over the spices, salt, and semolina, and then beat the egg adding to the bowl. Work everything together thoroughly with your hands, and then cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for half an hour.
Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and scoop out a scant teaspoon of the mixture. Roll in your hands to form the meatball and place on the lined baking sheet. Have a bowl of cold water beside you to dampen your hands with; this helps them not get too sticky for rolling the meatballs.
When you are ready to cook them, heat about ½" of oil in a frying pan. Line another baking sheet with paper towels, and when the oil is hot, fry the meatballs in batches (without overcrowding the pan). Cook them for about a minute a side, or until golden brown all over.

They were excellent stuffed into a grilled whole wheat pita with sliced red onion, baby spinach, cucumber, tomato, feta and then drizzled with Tzatziki sauce!  Um yes...I'm totally craving one now.  Right.  Now.
I made a killer Tzatziki to drizzle over the mini meatballs and veggies...and I even did it last minute!  Normally, you would drain some yogurt overnight in order to get rid of most of the liquid it contains, but since I spaced it until last minute, I simply used a thick greek yogurt un-strained...the resulting sauce was a bit more drizzleable...but no less addicting. If any whey has formed on top of the yogurt, simply pour it off before scooping what you need from the carton. If you want it quicker and plan ahead, then simple strain the yogurt overnight in a cheesecloth lined colander set over a bowl in the fridge.

Quick Tzatziki Sauce
makes~1½ c.

~1½ c. plain Greek yogurt
1 fat clove garlic, finely minced
~1/3 English Cucumber, grated
2 big pinches sea salt
~1 Tbs. dried dill weed
drizzle olive oil
drizzle red wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper

Stir everything together and adjust seasoning to taste.

Once the meatballs are made, this makes a quick, flavor-packed meal that you can throw together at any time.  Just be sure to bury the wrapping that clearly states 'ground lamb' under the other things in the trash bin...lest your secret be revealed.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Awesome looking pitas and meatballs. Being a New Zealander I grew up with lamb being a regular on our dinner table - things don't get much more Kiwi than roast lamb, and I would probably choose lamb over beef any day :-) Must try these little meatballs, they look great and I love your Tzatziki.
    Sue :-)

  2. had to go and give me a craving, didn't you? LOL! I LOVE it! Plus I have a weakness for pita and all things gyro-like. This looks mouthwatering Heather!

  3. Well I've got to give this try. I've seen similar recipes and they always look so fresh and good. Thanks for sending along this recipe Heather.

  4. Since I won't eat meat, I can try that sauce, that is die for one.

  5. i am really unfamilar with lamb, i really need to try this so i can get acquainted with it's flavor. i do love gyros though, so i'm pretty sure i would love this, they look beautiful!

  6. It really looks great, but I'm not a lamb eater. The sauce is awesome. Just a helloooooo and to let you know I'm having a cup of green tea with the habanero honey mixture. Oooh la la, hot and good.:) Have a great weekend.

  7. Oooh, lamb is a wonderful thing! I love the idea of mini meatballs - so I can eat more of them! Funny about not telling the kids... I do that with my husband! But lamb is something we can agree on, it's delish!

  8. I'm all for adorable little petting zoo critters being eaten up. You can pull the wool (arf!) over my eyes anytime. I can't however, imagine mustering up the energy to roll 80 meatballs. I'm pretty certain mine would end up as four patties. Naw, who am I kidding? I'd end up with a lamb log!

  9. I've never had lamb but holy cow these look good!

  10. These look so great! Fat Camp Friday is back, don't forget to link these up!

  11. Heather, these look awesome! Thanks for linking to Friday Potluck -- will have to try as soon as I have my own kitchen again... I simply adore gyros. Thanks also for linking to the last few FPs I've been out of pocket and haven't been able to comment until now :)

  12. Ah yes - you are the queen of flavour today! Absolutely delicious. I'll take two, please.

  13. I love lamb meatballs and on a pita with tzatziki makes it even better. Thanks for sharing them with Souper Sundays. ;-)