Lamb Meatballs in Warm Yogurt Sauce


This Mediterranean-inspired dish is sure to impress, and adds some beautiful colors to your holiday table. Serve on top of your favorite grain. We used red lentil risoni (yum!). Other suggestions are bulgur, rice pilaf, or egg noodles.

INGREDIENTS (For 4-6 servings)

Meatball ingredients:
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup fine fresh bread crumbs
- ½ cup finely minced yellow onion
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- ½ tsp toasted and ground cumin seeds
- Freshly ground black pepper

Other ingredients:
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups Alexandre Family Farm A2/A2 Organic 6% Plain Yogurt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh mint
- 2 tsp unsalted butter
- ½ tsp medium-hot coarsely ground red pepper or hot paprika
- ½ tsp toasted and ground cumin seeds

METHOD (Duration: 2-3 hrs)

Combine all ingredients for meatballs and mix well with your hands. Form 24 even balls. TIP: when forming the balls, periodically dip your hands in cold water to prevent the mixture from sticking.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat all sides. When the oil is hot, place all the meatballs in the pan in a single layer. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning the meatballs every now and then so they brown on all sides. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Discard any fat left in the skillet.

Set the heat to medium-high, return the pan, and add the chicken broth. Stir with a wooden spoon. Use the spoon to scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet, and simmer the broth until the bits dissolve. Return the meatballs to the pan, cover, and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then transfer the meatballs to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Combine the yogurt, egg, garlic, dill, and mint in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Slowly, whisk in ½ cup of the hot broth to warm the yogurt mixture. Pour the yogurt mixture into the pan and set the heat to low-medium. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce visibly thickens and just begins to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the meatballs back to the pan and turn to coat them with the sauce. Cover and simmer gently until hot, then place the meatballs and sauce in serving bowls (this recipe makes 4-6 servings).

Add the butter to a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Melt the butter, add the red pepper (or hot paprika) and cumin, and swirl the pan until the butter foams and you can smell the pepper. Drizzle each portion of meatballs with the red-pepper butter and garnish with chopped dill.

Yield: Serves 4-6.