April 20th marked the end of Lent, Easter Sunday. I decided to celebrate by making a special dinner – by which I mean, making things I don’t normally make… specifically lamb, since I rarely make lamb at home. I rarely eat it in general, and according to the blog, the last time I made it was in mid-2007. Whoa. Almost 7 years ago!
Since I knew it was going to be just me, I wanted to make something not too crazy – no racks of lamb – but something that would be tasty enough to eat a few times throughout the week. Lamb meatballs became the choice – and at first, I thought I should make gyro-spiced lamb meatballs, and put them in a pita pocket with cucumber salad with a tzatziki inflection, but then… I don’t know, this is what I came up with.
They were surprisingly even better than I could have hoped for, and I was extremely pleased with the flavor. And… so many people think of meatballs as a weekend project, and while it’s true that I made these on a Sunday, small batches of meatballs can easily be made on a weeknight. I learned this lesson recently while testing various dinner kit services (which will soon be posted as an in-depth, detailed report on 4 of the biggest services available in most of the country). Don’t be intimidated! It’s really not that time consuming.
I also made a cucumber salad to go on the side, which is a super quick side with lots of flavor. Relatively healthy, too. I wound up eating leftover meatballs on a roll with slices of the cucumber salad slipped in for crunch. Delicious!
The meatballs stay moist and juicy from all the herbs and seasonings added, so don’t skimp on them!
I will definitely be making this recipe again! Oh, and the meat came from my local farmer’s market – LOVE my neighborhood, there’s a farmer’s market outside the post office every Sunday morning! – from B&Y Farms. The nice man running the stand explained that the meat comes from lambs slaughtered just a few days prior, on Thursday. So fresh and so delicious. Not cheap at $12/lb, but so worth it – if you’re going to eat meat, might as well eat humanely raised, local-as-possible meat, right? … as fiscally possible, of course.
I also made a very pretty cake, because it’s not a celebration without cake, right? Duncan Hines was kind enough to send me a couple of boxes of various mixes, including their new Pink Velvet cake mix – which is pink and happy looking. Along with a container of their buttercream frosting, that was all there was to the cake! It was really moist and fluffy, and not overwhelmingly sweet. Everyone I shared this with liked it! (I baked it in two pans, then leveled the cake off and spread the room temp frosting on one layer, topped it with the other layer, and then spread frosting all around it.)
1 lb. ground lamb
1 bunch of parsley, just the tops
bread crumbs or stale baguette (about 1.5 cups)
Sriracha, more if you like it spicy, less or omit completely if you don’t
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp of cumin
Process the parsley, scallions, bread crumbs, carlic, salt in either a food processor – I used one of these Tupperware Quick Chefs that I got a long time ago as swag – until everything is finely minced and totally integrated. It should be a bit mealy and moist from all the herbs, but that’s good.
Heat a skillet over medium heat.
In a medium sized bowl, break up the ground lamb and add a couple of squirts of Sriracha and the cumin. Add the parsley mixture and get in there with your hands, get down and dirty and mix it all really well until it’s uniformly mixed throughout the lamb. Then, form ping pong sized balls loosely – not too tightly or they will be dense and unpleasant to eat.
Add a little oil to the bottom of the skillet. Then, carefully so not to splatter oil on yourself, add the meatballs to the pan, and brown on all sides. Lamb can be eaten a little pink/rare – and if you trust your meat purveyor, ground meat is totally safe to eat a little less than fully cooked* – so cook until you’re happy with the doneness.
The skewers in the pics are just for show, but feel free to serve on picks for ease of eating.
The cucumber salad is just cucumber slices tossed with a little sour cream, dried dill and sliced onions.
*Unless you have certain diseases that compromise your immune system or are otherwise extremely susceptible to bacteria. In all cases, trust your own judgment and comfort level over my words! I am not a doctor nor qualified to tell you how you should eat your meat.
I thoroughly enjoyed this meal and will definitely be turning back to this the next time a lamb craving strikes. They were also delicious with a little bit of lingonberry jam… yum!
Duncan Hines sent me boxes of cake mix to try, but I was under no obligation to post about them nor did I receive monetary compensation to do so.