Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Lemon and Mint

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From SmittenKitchen

Meatballs
3 to 8 tablespoons water
2 pounds ground lamb
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup (about 70 grams) breadcrumbs, fresh or plain, such as Panko
1/2 cup (55 grams) crumbled feta cheese
3/4 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 small garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons (35 grams) tomato paste
Zest of half a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
A couple glugs of red wine or white/dry vermouth (optional)
1 28-ounce (795 grams) can of crushed or pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Zest of half a lemon
3/4 to 1 teaspoon table salt
Pinches of red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/3 cup (about 45 grams) pitted, chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon thinly sliced mint leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup (30 grams) crumbled feta, for garnish

Make meatballs: If you plan don’t plan to brown the meatballs, use only 3 tablespoons water. If you do, use all 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup). In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients except oil; I like to do this with a fork. Using wet hands, form mixture into small (1 1/2 to 2-inch diameter) meatballs; I have taken to using a large (just shy of 3 tablespoon) cookie scoop for easy sizing.

Brown meatballs: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat it through. Evenly space meatballs in pan and very carefully turn and roll them so that all sides become brown. Don’t worry if they don’t remain perfectly round; mine never do. Don’t worry if some pieces become stuck to the pan; they will deliciously infuse the sauce in a minute. Drain meatballs on a paper towel-lined plate.

[If you prefer not to fry your meatballs before cooking them in the sauce, you can cook them right in the sauce — it will take about 10 minutes longer.]

Make sauce and finish cooking meatballs: Pour out all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and return to medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add wine or vermouth and scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Cook until the liquid almost disappears. Add tomatoes, oregano, lemon zest, salt, pepper flakes, olives (if you’re using them now), mint and parsley. Bring mixture to a simmer and return meatballs to the pan. Cover with a lid and cook at the lowest simmer for 20 to 24 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. Squeeze lemon juice over meatballs and sauce.

Serve: Sprinkled with additional olives, feta and herbs. We had this with orzo and aGreek salad.

Greek Avgolemono Soup

from Vegetarian Times

Serves 8

When reheating this soup, warm it over low heat without bringing it to a boil, to prevent the eggs from curdling.
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white parts finely chopped (4 cups)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and diced (¾ cup)
  • 6 cups no-chicken broth
  • ½ cup orzo pasta
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, onion, carrots, and pinch of salt; cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are softened, stirring often.

2. Stir in broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes. Add orzo, and cook 11 minutes more, or until orzo is tender. Remove from heat.

3. Whisk together eggs and lemon juice in bowl. Add 3 ladles soup broth to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk egg mixture back into soup, and cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until soup is thickened, but without letting it come to a boil. Serve sprinkled with parsley, mint, and oregano, and garnished with lemon wedges.