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How to Make Lamb Meatballs With Pearl or Israeli Couscous

If you want to branch out and try something different and good, opt for these lamb meatballs or, as my son refers to them, "lamb bombs." Why bombs? Because you can shape the lamb into meatballs or little football shaped patties (sort of like kofte), which I often do. The meat mixture is seasoned with onion, garlic, and warm--but not hot--spices that complement the lamb. A little mint and parsley keeps the mixture tasting light. I like to mix up the ingredients for the meatballs early in the day and refrigerate the mixture. That makes it easier for me when I need to cook and helps the flavor of the meat. Refrigerating the mixture isn't essential, though. After browning the meatballs, I add Israeli couscous (sometimes called pearl couscous) and onions to the pan and let them cook with the lamb to absorb the flavor. To finish the dish (and make it a one-pan dinner), I add some sliced cherry or grape tomatoes. The dish makes a great weeknight meal but is special enough for a weekend, too. Enjoy!

How to Make Lamb Meatballs With Pearl or Israeli Couscous
How to Make Lamb Meatballs With Pearl or Israeli Couscous

Lamb Meatballs With Pearl or Israeli Couscous -- Serves 4+


Meatballs


16 ounces (or so) of ground lamb (85 percent or leaner)

1/2 medium onion chopped

1 - 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon of dried coriander

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of dried mint

1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 large egg

1/4 - 1/3 cup of plain yogurt (non-fat is fine)

1 - 2 pieces of bread, preferably a bit stale (or an English muffin)


Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix them together until well blended. For best flavor, refrigerate the meat mixture for at least an hour (or make it early in the day and refrigerate it until evening).


To Finish the Dish


2-3 teaspoons of olive oil

1/2 a medium chopped onion

1 cup of Israeli/pearl couscous (I often use the whole-wheat version, which is good)

2 1/4 cups of hot water

1 tablespoon of minced dried parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half


Heat a large non-stick skillet or chef's pan over medium heat and add the oil. Form small meatballs (about the size of a golf all) or football-like patties with the lamb mixture and place them in the hot pan. Brown the meatballs/patties for about five minutes, then flip them over to brown the other side for five minutes. Move the patties to the sides of the pan and add the onion and couscous to the middle of the pan (you can drizzle in a little more olive oil if the pan seems dry/onions seem to be sticking). Stir the onions and couscous together for a couple of minutes, then add the hot water to the pan along with the dried parsley and a little salt and pepper. Cover the pan, turn down the heat to a simmer, and let the mixture cook for 10-15 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed most of the liquid. Turn off the heat. Toss/stir in the cherry or grape tomatoes. Taste the dish and add a little more salt and pepper if necessary before serving the lamb with the couscous and tomatoes.

How to Make Lamb Meatballs With Pearl or Israeli Couscous
How to Make Lamb Meatballs With Pearl or Israeli Couscous


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