|Lamb and Beef Meatballs with Crispy Onions
Who doesn’t love a meatball?
So many cultures have meatballs. Wikipedia helpfully lists meatballs from 28 countries alphabetically from Afghanistan to Vietnam.
So many families have their favorite meatball. My Mother’s best meatball used a powder called Spatini, and leftover meatball sandwiches were treasured lunches.
My tastes have changed, and I went on a decades-long search for the secret of really spicy meatballs, which I learned by trial-and-error.
The road to spicy meatballs:
1. Italian Grandmothers have known this forever: Cooking the raw meatball in sauce is good for the sauce and bad for the meatball. The sauce gets the flavor and the meatball becomes texture.
2. Really spicy meatballs require aggressively spicy ingredients: hot sausage, pepperoni, tiny dice of fried very hot peppers, cayenne, chili paste, etc.
New to my meatball repertoire: lamb meatballs
Which came first? Lamb at the supermarket or a lamb meatball recipe in my nighttime reading? Don’t know. This is a very flexible recipe that can be made with all lamb or 2/3 ground lamb and 1/3 ground beef. These meatballs freeze well and make great sandwiches (especially in pita). They are wonderful additions to salads and good friends to pizza. Use them in onion/garlic/hot pepper/meatball/spaghetti stir fries or (I live in Minnesota) your favorite hot dish.
1. Fry the onions first. By the time you have made the meatballs they should be caramelized, and can be moved aside for the meatballs. If you have so many onions that the meatballs won’t fit in the pan, remove half and serve them with cooked meatballs.
2. If you have only whole spices, measure them out and grind them with some of the Panko in a coffee grinder. A mini-food processor won’t get them to a fine grind.
3. Makes 16 golf ball sized meatballs.
Lamb Meatballs With Crispy Onions
1 onion, thin sliced
2T neutral oil (Canola)
2 t ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
2 t ground caraway
1/2 t ground fennel seed
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t cayenne
2 scallions finely chopped
1 c fresh parsley finely chopped (or 1/3 cup dried parsley)
1-1/2 t harissa or Siracha
3 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 c Panko
1-1/2 # lamb or 1# lamb & 1/2 # ground beef
1. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet. Fry the onions on medium heat. Turn on the oven to 375 or 350 in a convection oven.
2. Mix the spices, scallions, parsley, harissa or Siracha, garlic, and egg in a large bowl. Add the Panko and mix well.
3. Add the meat or meats to the bowl and mix well with your hands. Using your hands or an ice cream scoop, make 16 golf-ball sized meatballs.
4. Add the meatballs to the pan with the caramelized onions. Brown on all sides.
5. Bake for 15 minutes in the oven.
Through Pass the Baton llc, Susan Gainen lectures to law students on Professionalism, Second-Career Law Students, Alternative Careers, Job Search Outside of OCI, and Job Search Skills = Business Development Skills. As Painter and Chief Whimsy Officer of nanoscapes & other visions llc, she paints geometric abstractions, whimsical creatures called small friends, and The Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul. She also teaches “Knife Skills,” her favorite cooking class.