Michael Schwartz

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs

Served with harissa tomato sauce, yogurt & crispy garlic.
Makes about 24 meatballs.


2 cups cubed sourdough bread (crust removed)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup dried currants (soaked in hot water for 20 minutes then drained)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped mint
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2lbs ground lamb

Tomato Sauce
2 oz extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp cumin seed
2 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cans crushed tomato (26oz each)
2 tbsp harissa paste
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

Yogurt Sauce
2 cups Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Picked cilantro leaves
Picked dill
Crispy shallots


In a large bowl, pour the milk over the bread and soak, until completely saturated, about 10 minutes. Stir with a spoon to break up the big chunks. Add the currants, pine nuts, cumin, coriander, fennel seed, paprika, chipotle, eggs and yolk, garlic, cilantro, mint, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands until the mixture is uniform.

Add the lamb and, using your hands, mix thoroughly to combine. Alternatively mix with the paddle attachment in a stand mixer for about 2 minutes on low. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the meat is completely chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. You will have an easier time shaping the meatballs if you’re working with a cold meat mixture.

Tomato Sauce
Start the sauce by heating a large pot (big enough for the sauce and all the meatballs to cook) over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and cumin seeds and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds. The seeds should start to pop. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato and harissa, salt and pepper and simmer on low for about 30 minutes.

When the meatball mixture is cold and set, form into 2oz balls.

In a large sauté pan add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan and warm over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the meatballs without overcrowding (you will need to do this in batches) and pan-fry until browned on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Once browned add the meatballs to the simmering sauce, nestling them all together and being careful not to break them up.

Simmer on low, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Yogurt Sauce
In a medium bowl mix the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until combined

When ready to serve, spoon a couple tablespoons of the yogurt onto a plate and spread to crest a well for the meatballs. Spoon on 2 or 3 meatballs with some extra sauce. Garnish with plenty of cilantro and dill and sprinkle liberally with crispy onions. Enjoy!

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