North African Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Harissa

These delicious North African Spiced Lamb Meatballs are filled with fresh herbs, garlic and onion. I seasoned them with homemade Ras el Hanout along with smoked paprika and Aleppo pepper. I like to serve it next to couscous, torn naan and with a simple yet flavorful red pepper Harissa, but these would also work great as an appetizer at a gathering.

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Lamb! I love love love lamb. And I don’t prepare it nearly as much as I’d like to. Why is that? It’s a situation that I plan to rectify because when I do have it, I’m reminded that the flavor is fabulous and how I’m quite in love with it’s rich, earthy, and what some folks would call “gamy” flavor. It’s delicious.

To be honest, I’ve never gave much thought about the lamb meat that I purchase. Where does it come from? What is their diet? These are great questions. Questions that I should know the answers to. Right?

In walks Superior Farms, a innovative leader in American lamb farming. This employee owned company puts the flock first (which I respect wholeheartedly), having them grazes on vast grasslands and pastures. The flock sustains on natural vegetation as they’ve done for centuries. One flock will also graze in a vineyard which reduces the need for heavy equipment, meanwhile replenishing nutrients and microbes in the soil. See! This is great!

WE LOOK AT OURSELVES AS THE STEWARDS OF THE LAND, AND IF WE TAKE CARE OF IT, IT’LL TAKE CARE OF US.”

Superior Farms is also sustainable, and being that it’s Earth Day it’s kind of fitting don’t you think? The facilities have the best technology, and at their California facility they have a wind turbine that offsets just about half of energy use. Superior Farm ranchers are constantly updating technology and preventing their land from waste and harmful pesticides. My kind of place.

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THIS right here is why it’s important to know where our food comes from! To know those answers. Not only am I proud that I cook form scratch, but I love to  blog about it. And when a company/farm crosses my path that not only educates me, but also impresses me to a point where I’m now a dedicated consumer, I will honestly and quite happily spread the word using the most deliciously flavored North African Spiced Lamb Meatballs your tastebuds will ever have the pleasure to come across. American lamb, I’m all in.

For more information about Superior Farms check out their website.

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As I said, these spiced lamb meatballs are not lacking in flavor whatsoever. Here is what you need: 1 pound ground lamb (preferably American lamb via Superior Farms), 1/2 a large red onion, 2 cloves peeled fresh garlic, 1/2 cup of each fresh cilantro, mint and parsley leaves, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup quick cooking oats, 1 tablespoon homemade Ras el Hanout, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (I find it at Penzey’s).

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Start making these spiced lamb meatballs by adding 1/2 of a red onion that has been roughly chopped and 2 cloves of garlic into your food processor that is fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until the onion and garlic is coarsely chopped, then add in the fresh herbs and now pulse until the herbs and onions are finely chopped.

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Then, in a large bowl break up the ground lamb and add in the herb and onion mixture along with the Ras el Hanout, salt, smoked paprika, Aleppo pepper, the beaten egg and quick cooking oats. Blend the mixture together using a fork until all the ingredients are thoroughly combine. Use a spatula to give it one last mix, making sure the ingredients in the bottom of the bowl get incorporated.

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Next, use a tablespoon to measure out 1 tablespoon of the lamb mixture and roll into balls.

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Heat 2 tablespoons of extra light olive oil in a 12-inch skillet, and work in 2 batches browning the meatballs on all sides and until fully cooked.

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While the meatballs are browning, sauté 1 medium yellow onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet until tender, then I add in 2 minced cloves of garlic and cooked for 1 minute. Removing the pan off of the heat to prepare the remaining sauce.

In your food processor (don’t even bother to rinse it out) add 3 large roasted red bell peppers, 1 roasted red chili*, 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt (to taste), 1/2 teaspoon of each ground coriander and ground cumin. Blend until it reaches a desired consistency.

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Then pour the sauce into the skillet with the sautéed onions and garlic. Heat on medium-low, stirring occasionally until the sauce has simmered for 15-18 minutes. Taste and season with more salt as needed.

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This spiced lamb meatballs work great as an appetizer, yielding 36 delicious meatballs! I personally would blend the sauce a little more (and include the onions and garlic) for a smoother sauce which would be easier for dipping.

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However as a meal, I like to serve with with couscous and roasted asparagus or broccolini. The earthy, spiced lamb meatballs and the sweet and spicy red pepper harissa is a match made in food heaven. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Enjoy! And if you give this recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

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My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

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North African Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Harissa

Spiced Lamb Meatballs are filled with fresh herbs, garlic, onion, my homemade Ras el Hanout and smoked paprika. Serve with a delicious roasted red pepper Harissa!

Yield: 36 meatballs

Prep Time: 1 hour (does not include roasting the red peppers)

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: about 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

1/2 a medium red onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves peeled garlic

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1/2 cup mint leaves

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1 pound Superior Farms American Lamb

1/2 cup quick oats

1 tablespoon Ras el Hanout

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons extra light olive oil, for frying

FOR THE RED PEPPER HARISSA:

1 tablespoon light olive oil

1 cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 large roasted red bell peppers

1 to 2 roasted chili peppers or Fresno chile (1 pepper for moderate heat, 2 for spicy -- you can do this yourself of buy them)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

FOR THE SPICED LAMB MEATBALLS: In your food processor, pulse the red onion and garlic until very coarsely chopped. Then add in the fresh herbs and pulse until everything is finely chopped.

In a large bowl combine the ground lamb, onion/herb mixture, quick oats, Ras el Hanout, paprika, salt, Aleppo pepper and the beaten egg. Use a fork to mix all of the ingredients together. Then use a tablespoon to measure out 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture and roll into balls.

Heat a large, 12-inch skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of extra light olive oil and work in batches of two, browning the lamb meatballs on all sides and until cooked through. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

FOR THE ROASTED RED PEPPER HARISSA: While the meatballs are browning, sauté the yellow onion until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for one minute. Remove the skillet from the heat for a moment.

In your food processor (don't bother rinsing it out form the herb/onion mixture) add in 3 large roasted red peppers, 1 to 2 roasted chili peppers, salt, coriander, cumin and black pepper. Secure the lid and pulse until it reaches a desired consistency. NOTE: If too thick, add a little of the water from the bowl (or jar) that held the peppers. Next, pour the red pepper Harissa into the skillet (with the sautéed onions and garlic), stir and heat on medium-low. Simmer for 15 to 18 minutes.

Serve meatballs with spoonfuls of the roasted red pepper Harissa, next to couscous (rice or even cauliflower rice), naan and a vegetable of your choice!

IF SERVING AS AN APPETIZER: Puree sauce one last time (with the onions and garlic) for a smoother dipping sauce. Serve meatballs with toothpicks on a platter next to the red pepper Harissa.

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[this post contains affiliate links.]

And a huge THANK YOU to Superior Farms for sponsoring this post! I was compensated for my time creating this recipe using American Lamb, and as always my thoughts are my own.

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2 Responses to “North African Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Harissa”

  1. #
    1
    Julia Mueller — April 24, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Not gonna lie, these photos are giving me some very pleasant heart palpitations. I LOVE lamb! I’ve never had lamb meatballs, so I’m alllll up in this saucy North African dish. It looks soooo flavorful!

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