Lamb Meatballs with Orzo, Tomato and Feta Recipe

Lamb Meatballs with Orzo, Tomato and Feta Recipe
Contributor
Lamb meatballs
Valaer Murray

Lamb meatballs

This is my Greek version of spaghetti and meatballs, and it's just as comforting and hearty as the old stand-by but has some exotic flavors to kickstart your palate.

Click here to see Recipe SWAT Team: Meatballs.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 10 black olives, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked orzo
  • ½ cup crumbled feta

Directions

In a mixing bowl, add salt, pepper, anise, cumin and 1 clove of crushed garlic to the ground lamb and knead with your hands to mix together. Roll meatballs that are about an inch and a half in circumference and put in the fridge while you get the sauce on.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and add onions then the rest of the garlic and cook through until started to brown and caramelize a bit. Add oregano and cook a minute more. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and turn up the heat so it starts to simmer. Stir in the wine and let the alcohol cook off for a minute or so then stir in the olives, reduce the heat to low and cover.

In a sauté pan, add enough canola oil to coat the pan (most ground lamb is pretty fatty so you don't need too much oil to cook them). Place the meatballs in gently and brown on one side then the other. Put the meatballs in your tomato sauce and simmer on low, covered, for 15 minutes. In last minute or so, stir in the parsley.

Serve the meatballs and sauce over cooked orzo and sprinkle with feta. Garnish with any leftover parsley. This is great with a simple salad of spinach tossed with olive and lemon juice.

Lamb Shopping Tip

Look for meat that is bright red. Red meat turns paler as the hemoglobin within releases oxygen – a sign that the meat has been sitting too long at the butcher's counter.

Lamb Cooking Tip

When browning meat, resist the urge to move the meat – you must allow a flavorful crust to form over high heat. Once it has formed, the meat should slide freely with the shake of a pan.

Lamb Wine Pairing

Most red wines, especially cabernet sauvignon, but also including cabernet franc, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nebbiolo, nero d'avola, primitivo, barbera, and sangiovese.