This is the season when appetizers of any kind are welcomed at all times. Between office parties, the neighborhood potluck or your best friend’s small get-together, it seems everywhere I turn, it’s just food and desserts galore.
I made these meatballs a few months back on a catering job I did with my boyfriend. His aim was to make a huge batch of meatballs, keep them in the oven and set them out in waves. Big surprise: they were the hit of the party. There’s something about a comforting meatball on a chilly night that’s just perfect. And if they’re rolled into the right size meatball with a skewer placed right in the center, they’re great finger food.
The lamb gives these meatballs a very slight gamey element that I think works really well with the spicy harissa, fresh mint and Italian parsley and onion-y flavor from the shallot. They couldn’t be simpler to throw together and they’re even more easy to keep warm while guests arrive. My favorite way to serve them is in a dutch oven with a side of toothpicks. It’s truly one of those desserts that can go from stove to table with no labor in between.
Fun bonus: if you have any leftover, the next morning, crack a few eggs into the sauce, add some fresh parsley and eat with lavash or a few slices of bread. Best breakfast EVER!
Harissa Lamb Meatballs
- For the sauce:
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove
- 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground harissa
- For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground harissa powder
- 2 tablespoons minced mint
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- In a dutch oven or medium-sized pot, set over medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add the shallot and cook until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Next, add the can of diced tomatoes and mix in the tomato paste, along with the ground harissa and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Give it a good stir and simmer, uncovered, until it slightly thickens, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, let’s make the meatballs. In a large bowl, mix together the lamb, harissa powder, minced mint, Italian parsley, minced shallot, minced garlic cloves, bread crumbs, egg, salt and lemon zest. Mix it all together until everything is evenly incorporated. Using a #20 ice cream scooper (or two teaspoons), roll out meatballs. Place them on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper side by side. Heat a few teaspoons of oil in a skillet, set over moderately high heat. Sear the meatballs, in batches, until browned on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer them to the pot with the tomato sauce. Continue these steps until you’ve seared your way through all of the meatballs. Cook the meatballs in the sauce for an additional 10 minutes. Keep the meatballs warm, turning the heat down to very low, and covering the pot, until you’re ready to serve.
Adrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.