Pistachio Lamb Meatballs with Tzatziki

Lamb meatballs

I don't like the word meatball.  It sounds so unappetizing...a wad of meat thrown at you for sustenance. Take a whack.  But I do like to eat them, provided they're small and have good texture and flavor. These fit the bill. So good with cool, creamy tzatziki sauce. Great for dinner on a bed of couscous or on toothpicks as an appetizer.

I could only find "salt and pepper" flavored pistachios at my grocery store (why must they tart everything up?), but they're actually pretty good. I omitted the pepper and some of the salt in the recipe because of it.

Pistachio Lamb Meatballs

Note: These are also terrific as burgers—just omit the egg white.

Makes approximately 16 larger meatballs or 40 appetizer-sized

1 pound ground lamb
3/4 cup pistachios
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg white

*also called pimenton. If you don't have, substitute regular paprika and a pinch of cayenne.

1. Grind the pistachios in the food processor until no large pieces remain.

2. Mix all ingredients together by hand just until combined.

3. Scoop a golf ball sized spoonful of meat mixture and roll gently (don't compress the meat) into a ball between your hands (for appetizers, roll into teaspoon size balls). Place on foil-lined sheet pan. These can be made in advance and refrigerated.

4. Bake at 450º for 5 minutes, then turn oven down to 350º and cook for another 8 minutes or until no longer pink inside (this will give you a nice crust).  Cook half that time for smaller meatballs. You can also put them on a hot grill for about 10 minutes.


Makes about a cup

7 ounces plain greek-style yogurt
1 small garlic clove, mashed
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated coarsely
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for an hour or two.


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