Middle Eastern Lamb Meatballs with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Both of my daughters make this meal and I totally enjoy it.  (That comment is coming from someone who is not necessarily a lamb fan!)  I say that I am  not a fan but I will  always try it and I have found that I only object to it when it has a gamey taste.  These meatballs do not have a wild or gamey taste.

Middle Eastern Lamb Meatballs 
with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
adapted from Epicurious

Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
3 green onions (We used garlic chives.)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp sugar

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp whole milk
2 Tbsp minced seeded jalapeno chile (We used serrano.)
2 Tbsp whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
1 1/4 pounds ground lamb
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice


Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce
Toast all seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until aromatic and slightly darker in color, stirring often,  about 2 minutes.  Cool.  Finely grind seeds in spice mill or  coffee grinder.  Place cilantro and all remaining ingredients in blender or processor.  Add 1 tsp ground seeds and process until smooth sauce forms, scraping down sides frequently.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover sauce and chill.  Reserve remaining ground seeds for meatballs.  DO AHEAD:  Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.  Store remaining ground seeds in airtight container at room temperature.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in heavy small skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until soft, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes (do not brown).  Cool.  Toss breadcrumbs with milk in small bowl to moisten.  Place cooled onion mixture, breadcrumb mixture, reserved ground seeds from cilantro-yogurt sauce, jalapeno, and yogurt in processor.  Using on/off turns, process until coarse puree forms.  Transfer mixture to medium bowl.  Add lamb, eff, cilantro, sage, 1 tsp coarse salt, pepper, and allspice.  Using hands or fork, mix until just blended.  Using damp hands, form lamb mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls.  DO AHEAD:  Can be made 6 hours ahead.  Cover and chill.

Meatballs may be cooked on a baking sheet in a 400° F. for 20 minutes or in two batches in a skillet with 2 Tbsp oil over medium heat.  Cook meatballs until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.  Keep meatballs warm in a 300° F. up to 15 minutes.

Serve meatballs with cilantro-yogurt sauce for dipping.


We had enough meatballs leftover for dinner the next night.  We broke the meatballs apart and served them on pita with a Greek salad and hummus.

It was delicious...I am  so happy that my daughters both have convinced me that lamb can be delicious!

I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.


  1. They look delicious Kathy and that sauce is sure packed with lots of flavors.

  2. Yum, Kate - this looks like a wonderful meal. I love it when we get inspiration from our kids, sounds like your daughters are following in mom's culinary footsteps!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts