Other than “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Baa, Baa Black Sheep,” not much enters my mind when I hear someone mention lamb. I don’t live in Scotland, so sheep don’t wander around my town’s grassy meadows, which limits my encounters to the occasional internet photograph or trip to the petting zoo.
Until I prepared a shepherd’s pie a few weeks ago. Then I got up close and personal with lamb. I enjoyed its savory flavor in the dish, but there was just one problem. Two-thirds of a pound still sat in my fridge after I cooked the pie. What was I supposed to do with all of that leftover meat?
Making meatballs seemed like a decent answer. Although my mother taught me never to play with my food, I refused to believe that mixing spices into ground meat falls into that category. (Trust me, it’s a supremely satisfying feeling, just like squelching mud between your toes!)
After pinching, shaping, and rolling out raw meat into little spheres, I placed them in the oven to bake for a bit. Because the ground lamb contained more fat than ground beef, only a few minutes passed before I heard grease sizzling in the bottom of the broiler pan. It filled every corner of my home with the tantalizing yet comforting smell of juicy meat and rich spices.
I quickly became addicted to their delicious flavor, yet I somehow managed not to pop every single meatball into my mouth like candy. The few that survived my greedy tummy went into the freezer, out of sight but not out of mind…
makes 12-15 1½-inch meatballs
⅔ lb ground lamb
½ tsp dried rosemary, chopped
¾ tsp dried mint
⅛ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray, set aside.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand until spices are evenly distributed and mixture is smooth. Shape into 12-15 evenly sized balls.
- Place meatballs on the broiler pan, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the meat begins to brown. Cool for 5 minutes on the pan. Serve warm.