Lamb Meatballs with Chickpeas and EggplantCourse: DinnerCuisine: MediterraneanDifficulty: Easy
We love lamb and these meatballs are so good and easy to make. I have even made them a day or two ahead of time and stored them in a baking dish covered with plastic wrap. I have made a few tweaks to the recipe. I toasted the fennel seed as I love fennel and feel with it toasted the flavor is richer. I also added Aleppo pepper in place of red pepper flakes and I also added some fresh parsley and cilantro. I felt the meatballs had better flavor after I added what I added so did my family. Sometimes I just make these and serve them in homemade pita bread with homemade hummus or homemade tzatziki. They are delicious with pasta as well and sautéed eggplant and crispy chickpeas.
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb (pork and beef work)
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping teaspoon red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper
3 Tablespoons each fresh chopped parsley, cilantro and mint. can use one or all.
Kosher salt and lots f fresh ground pepper
8 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
2 (15oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
3 cups mixed greens: baby kale, arugula and radicchio
1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 lemon, halved
- Combine lamb, fennel seeds, garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh herbs in a medium bowl. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, mix until everything is well combined.
- Using your hands, roll the meat into golf ball size meatballs and place on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan. You should have roughly 10-12.
- Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs, work in batches if your skillet can’t accommodate them all. Cook, gently turning them so they cook evenly all over. After 8-10 minutes they should be evenly browned, transfer to a plate. Leave the fat behind.
- Add 4 Tablespoons of oil to the same skillet, working in batches, add the eggplant in an even layer. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook the slices, flipping once until they are browned on both sides about 6-8 minutes. Add more oil if needed. After they have cooked add to the plate with the meatballs.
- Add the remaining 3 Tablespoons oil to the same skillet, along with the chickpeas. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Shaking the pan so the chickpeas cook evenly. They should be nicely browned after about 3-5 minutes.
- Season yoghurt with salt and pepper and smear on a plate. Top with meatballs, eggplant and chickpeas. Scatter the greens around and give a squeeze of lemon.