Lamb meatballs with tzatziki sauce

Lamb Meatballs with Zaziki Sauce

Who doesn’t like lamb? Raise your hands…c’mon, let’s see those hands. Oh, oh. A lot of hands went up out there.

I was once just like you. I can still vividly remember the only time I had lamb as a child. It came to the table gray and lifeless along with a jar of violently green mint jelly. I took one bite, struggled to swallow it and then thought to myself, “I am never, ever eating this again for the rest of my life.”

Happily for me, someone presented me with a juicy, medium-rare lamb chop several years into adulthood and I did a complete turn-around on the subject of lamb. Now here’s what bothers me about lamb chops. They’re super teeny tiny. I guess if you look at a lamb you’d figure they’d have puny little chops. So it takes a lot of them to make a meal for King Daddy and they aren’t cheap. But ground lamb, now that’s another story. It’s definitely more expensive than ground beef but once you taste the richness of lamb – done properly – you will want it all the time.

By the way, tzatziki sauce is what you would hope you would be getting on your gyros at the local Greek place but it never is. Somewhere along the way, perhaps because the people of Greece don’t think Americans actually like the taste of plain yogurt, ranch dressing has found its way on to the condiment line for gyros. It is a travesty, of course. It takes 10 minutes to make the real thing and it’s so much better.

Lamb Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce

1 pound ground lamb

1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon fresh mint, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Form the meat mixture into golf ball-sized balls and place on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for about 30 minutes or until the outsides are brown and the meat is cooked through. Serve with tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 small cucumber

8 ounces plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Peel and seed the cucumber. Grate it and then place it in a clean tea towel and wring out all the moisture. Mix the cucumber with the yogurt, olive oil and garlic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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