Thursday, April 16, 2009

Not your grandma’s meatballs: Lamb-Pistachio Meatballs

Not that I have anything against grandmas. In fact, our “Meme and Papa” are visiting now and we’re having a ball. (Hence the reason I haven’t spent much time updating this blog.) But, since the times when our moms taught us to cook, so many interesting ingredients and ethnic cuisines have become mainstream. With that in mind, I am sharing my recipe for Lamb & Pistachio Meatballs. Remember: meatballs are hard to mess up! These ones are amazing, and so easy. As an added bonus, they reheat well and can be frozen. A perfect make ahead meal…and these meatballs are special enough that you could serve them at a dinner party. (We ate them before I remember to take a photo, so I had to poach an image off the Food & Wine site...)

Kofte with Pistachios
1 cup bag raw (or roasted, unsalted) pistachios (Trader Joe's sells them shelled...)
1 lb ground lamb (which can be difficult to find, so call ahead and order this from your market’s butcher)
1 lb all natural ground beef
2 or 3 yellow onions (depending upon the size of the onion), diced small
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves rough chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves rough chopped
hearty dash of cumin
hearty dash on cinnamon
hearty dash of kosher salt
olive oil in which to sauté the meatballs

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients and mix with your hands. (Remove your wedding ring, or it will get nasty.) Drizzle olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roll meatballs in oil to lightly cover. Bake about 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through, turning halfway so they evenly brown. Done! How easy was that? Serve with Yogurt Sauce.

These meatballs free beautifully, so make a big batch and freeze some for later!

Herbed Yogurt Sauce
This sauce pairs wonderfully with the meatballs, but can also be a nice accompaniment to grilled chicken or shrimp, or stirred into orzo for a side dish, used as a dip for pita chips, etc. Lots of options for this simple recipe….

16 oz. Greek yogurt
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch mint, roughly chopped (or 2-3 T dried)
1 bunch dill, feathery part roughly chopped (or 2-3 T dried)
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped (or 2-3 T dried)
optional: 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper + salt to taste

Combine all of the above and let flavors meld in the fridge for at least one hour. Dip will keep for several days.


  1. curious what size tub of Greek yogurt for the sauce. This looks delicious!

  2. Hi Susan,
    I always make a 16 oz tub of sauce, since I always find uses for the yogurt sauce afterwards!!

  3. sounds great! Thanks!

    I was going to say you're up late, but maybe you're still traveling?


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