Lamb Meatballs with Olives and Feta
Do you like lamb? I certainly do, and I believe it’s a meat you either like or don’t. I also believe that some people associate lamb with mutton, which has turned them away from it. Mutton is from the same animal as lamb, but stronger in taste and usually much tougher due to the age of the animal. Mutton is meat from a sheep that is 1-3 years old, which yields a stronger, gamier taste, and is tougher due to the muscles working longer. Lamb, on the other hand, is meat from young lambs that are less than a year old. Young spring lamb is tender and milder in comparison to mutton.
My personal favourite in cuts of lamb is chops, specifically grilled chops, which are delicious with a mustard rub. I also enjoy lean ground lamb and lamb shoulder. The wonderful thing about lamb is that it can take on robust, bold flavours and pairs wonderfully with the tomatoes and olives in this Mediterranean style dish. Saucy, rustic and full of flavour, Lamb Meatballs with Olives and Feta is a welcome change from regular beef meatballs. Perfect with rice or toasty bread! Enjoy!
If you’re a lamb lover like me, you’ll also want to try Braised Lamb Shoulder. Fork tender lamb shoulder braised in a creamy mushroom sauce.
Recipe source for Lamb Meatballs with Olives and Feta: Compelled to Cook
- 1 pound lean ground spring lamb
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
- 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 tsp dried
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano plus more for garnish
- 3/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- as needed chopped red onion for garnish if desired
- Add all ingredients except oil to a large bowl. Gently combine with your hands or a wooden spoon. Roll mixture into 17-18 evenly sized meatballs approximately 1 1/4 ounces each.
- Heat oil in a cast iron or oven safe skillet over medium heat until hot. Arrange meatballs in a single layer and brown on all sides, about 20 minutes. Remove meatballs to a paper towel lined plate and drain all but 1 tbsp of fat from skillet.
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- To the skillet add chopped shallot and garlic, sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until soft, stirring often. Pour in white wine to deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Add chicken broth and allow to simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Using your hands, crush tomatoes and add to skillet along with oregano, paprika and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs back to pan, stirring to coat with sauce.
- Place in oven uncovered and bake for 20-25 minutes until sauce is reduced, stirring once. Remove from oven and stir to coat with sauce. Sprinkle with feta cheese and olives, return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with chopped red onion and fresh oregano if desired and serve immediately on top of rice or with crusty bread.
-dampened hands help to roll meatballs.