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Lamb meatballs appear in various forms across the Middle East, but the beauty of our foodways in the Southern U.S. is that we have great lamb from people like Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm in Virginia, great farms producing amazing local and organic kale, wonderful dairies for yogurt, and a burgeoning staple crop in the return of rice to our agrarian landscape. Handle the meatballs gently, and form them with as little handling as possible. This will keep them tender.

Hugh Acheson
Recipe by Cooking Light June 2013


Credit: Johnny Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr

Recipe Summary test

25 mins
48 mins
Serves 4


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a small cast-iron pan over medium heat; cook 5 minutes until toasted and just beginning to smoke, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Place spice mixture and chili powder in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.

  • Return pan to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; cool completely.

  • Combine spice mixture, onion mixture, breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lamb, and egg in a large bowl. Shape mixture into 12 meatballs. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add meatballs; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan; drain well. Wipe drippings from pan with a paper towel. Return meatballs to pan. Add kale, stock, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 4 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

  • Combine yogurt, lemon juice, and ground cumin in a small bowl. Spread 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture in bottom of each of 4 shallow bowls. Top with 1/2 cup rice and 1 cup lamb mixture. Sprinkle evenly with pine nuts and mint.

Nutrition Facts

448 calories; fat 23.4g; saturated fat 6.6g; mono fat 11.2g; poly fat 3.5g; protein 22.9g; carbohydrates 36.4g; fiber 2.5g; cholesterol 104mg; iron 4.1mg; sodium 508mg; calcium 154mg.