These moist and tender meatballs are the kind that you will make any day of the week. They will also make it on the holiday smorgasbord. A few simple fresh herbs and minimal spices wrap around the earthy lamb flavor that will have your tastebuds go bonkers. The moist and tender texture was as a result of using plain old cracker crumbs soaked in milk – but bread crumbs will be okay [try to use fresh and soak in milk). The lamb flavor was complimented with the sweet and woody taste of cinnamon – oh, what a perfect match.
These lamb meatballs are first baked in the oven – healthier that pan frying; and they were subsequently submerged in a simmering Fra Diavolo sauce (slightly spicy). All I can say is so damn delicious .What’s more, you can substitute any type of ground meat in this recipe, however – so it’s a template for any type of meatballs you are making. You can even make these lamb meatballs smaller and serve them as an appetizer. You just cannot go wrong either way! I hope you will make this dish and enjoy it as much as we do.
Lamb Meatballs | How to make Moist & Tender Lamb Meatballs
These amazingly flavorful lamb meatballs are rich in flavor, moist and tender. They are great for any weekday, weeknight or holiday dinner table.
FOR THE LAMB MEATBALLS:
- 2 pounds ground lamb (I used grass fed)
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 3/4 cups onions diced
- 1/3 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (adjust for your diet)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (adjust to you liking)
- 1 teaspoon garlic freshly crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I use Vietnamese cinnamon)
- 20 soda crackers crumbled into panko style crumbs. (enough crackers to make 1 cup of crumbs)
- 1/2 cup whole milk (just enough to soak the crackers but not drown them in the milk)
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 32 ounces Fra diavolo pasta sauce
- 28 ounces tomato purée (You can make this optional if you prefer less sauce.)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onions diced
- 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic freshly crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
MAKE THE LAMB MEATBALLS:
Preheat oven 375F.
In a small bowl combine the crumbled cracker crumbs with the milk. Mix together and set aside for a couple of minutes.
Add the ground lamb to a large bowl. Use your fingers or a spoon to break up the ground meat.
Add the beaten eggs to the ground lamb. Add in all the remaining meatball ingredients including the soaked cracker crumbs.
Use your hands or a wooden spoon, to mix the ingredients until fully incorporated.
Line a sheetpan with parchment paper.
Shape the lamb mixture into 2 inch diameter size meatballs. Place the meatballs on the lined sheetpan – at least 1 inch apart.
Note: I wet my hands with water while shaping the meatballs – prevents the meat sticking to your hands.
Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes. Remove the pan and use a kitchen thong to flip the lamb meatballs over so that the side that was in contact with the sheetpan is now on the topside. Return the pan to the oven and bake 15 minutes.
Note: The meatballs will be lightly brown.
Simultaneously MAKE THE SAUCE (while the meatballs are baking):
In a heavy bottom 5 quart dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
Saute the onions for 2 minutes until it's translucent.
Add the cinnamon and cook 20 seconds.
Add in the oregano, garlic and parsley. Give it a quick stir.
Add in the tomato sauces.
Stir. Lower the heat to medium-low once the sauce comes to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the lamb meatballs from the oven.
Add them to the simmering sauce during the last 10 minutes of the sauce cook time.
Turn off the heat. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Serve over a bed of your favorite pasta. Garnish with shredded parmesan and chopped parsley if desired. Enjoy.
Can substitute the Fra Diavolo pasta sauce for your favorite sauce.
The tomato sauces in the recipe gives you a very generous amount of sauce. If you prefer a little bit less sauce, reduce the sauce to your liking.
I used unsalted crackers in this recipe but you can substitute panko breadcrumbs or simple fresh bread crumbs.