Lamb Meatballs with Cucumber Mint Sauce

Yield: about 30 meatballs

Cucumber Mint Sauce:

12 ounces Greek strained yogurt

1 cup coarsely grated peeled cucumber

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

½ teaspoon salt

Meatballs:

½ teaspoon olive oil

½ cup minced yellow onion

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 pound ground lamb

½ cup fine fresh bread crumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Equipment needed:

A small skillet; a 10 x15-inch baking pan.

To prepare the sauce, combine the yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, mint, lime juice and salt in a bowl and mix well. Chill, covered, for 2 to 3 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

To prepare the meatballs, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened. Remove from the heat to cool slightly. Combine the onion mixture, lamb, bread crumbs, egg, cilantro, mint, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Shape into 1-inch meatballs and place in a bowl. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator. (The meatballs can be made up to 1 day in advance up to this point.)

Heat the oven to 450º. Place the meatballs in a single layer in a greased 10 x 15-inch baking pan. Place in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350º. Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown and cooked through. Serve with the sauce.

Note: Do not overcook these meatballs. They should be moist and succulent.

 

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