Did everyone have a nice holiday? There's still one big celebration around the corner, and the question is how will you ring in the New Year? Will it be a glamorous bash streaming with glitter and bubbly champagne? Or will it be a quiet evening made special by the company of good food and the ones you love?
For me it will be the latter. On the menu will be a simple but special duck confit, black eyed peas, collard greens and these Moroccan-styled meatballs for appetizers. These meatballs are a combination of sweet warm cinnamon with domineering cumin spice, caramelized onions and mint and parsley herbs. Fresh, bold flavors that round each other out and together stand up well against the strong flavors of lamb.
This is probably the first Moroccan-style dish I have made, and a revelation of what I have been missing these years. After tasting the tantalizing spices and herbs together I am so inspired that I am going to look into more Moroccan recipes.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Hors d'Oeuvre, by Brigit L. Binns
These meatballs are delicious alone or could be served with a cool cucumber-dill yogurt sauce. This recipe also works well to create mini hamburgers on brioche mini buns.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion, very finely chopped
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 3 large garlic cloves, crushed through a press
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
- 2 Tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
- Lemon wedges for squeezing and garnish
- About 42 cocktail picks (optional)
- Lightly oil a shallow-rimmed baking sheet.
- In a fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
- Add the lamb, garlic, eggs, parsley, chopped mint, bread crumbs, cumin, cinnamon, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper to the bowl with the onion. Combine the ingredients thoroughly with your hands (the only way to evenly distribute the ingredients). Fry a small pinch of the mixture, taste, and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut, rolling them very lightly in the palms of your hands. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Preheat a broiler. Place the meatballs about 4 inches from the heat source and broil, turning once with tongs, until brown and crispy on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove the baking sheet from the broiler and transfer the meatballs to a platter.
- Squeeze some lemon juice over the meatballs and arrange the remaining lemon wedges and mint sprigs on the platter. Using a cocktail pick, skewer each meatball. Serve immediately. Makes about 42 warm bites.