Lamb Meatballs With Harissa Tomato Sauce

by Emily Kemme

Meatballs are everyone’s favorite! In this recipe, harissa adds a punch of smokey flavor. The condiment, popular in Morocco, Tunisia and other North African countries, is made from hot chile peppers, roasted red peppers, garlic, vinegar and salt. Olive oil adds stability and helps create a smooth paste. While the paste by itself can be spicy, here it is one ingredient in a tomato sauce for lamb meatballs. The combination of bright tomatoes and the sultry harissa is what makes these meatballs standout.

I used to balk at preparing meatballs because after spending all that time rolling the little devils, the balls would lose their shape while frying. The key here is don’t do it! Rather than fry the meatballs, bake them instead. Immerse them in the sauce to finish and absorb the flavors.

Lamb Meatballs with Harissa Tomato Sauce

Harissa is available at most larger grocery stores in either the ethnic foods section or condiments. Use it to add a zing of red pepper spice!

Lamb Meatballs With Harissa Tomato Sauce Recipe

1 small onion, minced

3 T mint leaves, minced

2 T basil leaves, minced

2 T garlic cloves, crushed

1 T ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sambal oelek

2 pounds ground lamb

Heat oven to 375°F.

For Meatballs:

Combine meatball ingredients in large bowl and mix well with your hands. Roll into 1.5 inch balls, keeping hands moist with water to prevent the meat from sticking. Place on oiled baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink. Makes 36 meatballs.

For Sauce:

1 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes

1 14.5 ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 cup harissa

Note: Find prepared harissa in larger grocery stores in the ethnic foods section or where hot sauce is sold.

Bring to simmer in deep skillet. Add meatballs and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with grilled Naan bread and a mixed salad.

Lamb Meatballs with Harissa Tomato Sauce

Baked lamb meatballs simmer in harissa tomato sauce for 30 minutes to absorb the flavor.

Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.

Interested in reading Emily’s new award-winning novel, Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage? Find it on Amazon and in Indie bookstores.

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