A while back I saw a recipe for lamb meatballs, cooked in a red sauce. It really appealed to me because I love lamb. And, I think I could eat shoe soles cooked in red sauce.
But did I print this recipe? Or even take notes as to where I found it? Stupidly no, although I’m typically organized about such important things as recipes.
So I’m creating the recipe for slightly Greek-inspired lamb balls, baked in a red sauce, along with goat cheese. The meat balls are gently seasoned with oregano, allspice, and a hint of cinnamon.
Lamb Balls in Red Sauce with Goat Cheese
Makes about 36 meatballs
Approximately 42 ounces favorite red sauce or simple Marinara
2 pounds ground lamb
3 eggs, mixed well
1/3 cup panko crumbs
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Panko bread crumbs, approximately 1/2 cup
10-12 ounces soft goat cheese
Freshly chopped parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the red sauce into a 9 x 13″ baking dish; set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the lamb, egg, panko crumbs, parsley, salt, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, and pepper.
In a large skillet, (you’ll be using it for another purpose), sauté the onion over medium-low heat until soft. Stir in the garlic, then remove the skillet from the burner. Let the mixture cool, then add to the lamb mixture.
Using the same skillet, add approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Have a bowl of panko crumbs next to the meatball mixture. Form the lamb into medium-sized meatballs, I used a 1 1/2” scoop, roll in the bread crumbs, then sauté them in the skillet, about 8-10 at a time.
When the balls have browned well on all sides, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the skillet and place them in the baking dish with the red sauce. This should only take about 5 minutes over medium-high heat.
Repeat with remaining meatballs. If you have any bread crumbs leftover you can sprinkle them over the meatballs in the red sauce.
Bake the meatballs for approximately 20-25 minutes and remove the baking dish from the oven. Turn off the oven.
Add the goat cheese to the meatballs, adding a generous tablespoons interspersed amongst them, eturn the baking dish to the oven to allow the cheese to melt, approximately 10-15 minutes.
Before serving, sprinkle the lamb balls with freshly chopped parsley.
Serve directly from the baking dish, if desired, along with crusty bread.
Make sure there’s a generous amount of red sauce served with the lamb balls.
If desired, the meatballs and red sauce can be served over pasta or polenta, but today I used pasta.
The meatballs are tender, with a slight crunchy firmness on the outside.
The goat cheese is spectacular with the lamb and red sauce.