I make a variant of these year round, there's always some in the freezer just-in-case, but April/May is my favorite time of the year to make them. The first local lamb of the season is available around the same time as the beginning of farmers market season which allows me to preserve that brief window of seasonality for future use. Increase or decrease the amounts of onions, garlic, greens and cheese to your own taste. (For a great Eastern Mediterranean variant increase the amount of garlic, use only parsley for the greens and finely crumbled sheep's milk feta for the cheese.)
The idea of a 1:1:1 ratio between the three different ground meats comes from an Alton Brown recipe. —My Friend Maillard
- Makes 3 sheet pans of meatballs
3 or 4
whole stalks (including green part) of sliced or diced spring garlic
2 or 3
whole stalks of sliced or diced spring onion
finely chopped mix of baby greens and herbs. (to decrease the taste of the greens but keep the nutrition freeze the whole greens in a single layer on a sheet pan, then finely chop.)
grated hard cheese (optional)
unseasoned panko bread crumbs, for gluten-free use GF oats baked until fragrant and roughly chopped in food processor (optional)
tomato paste (optional)
worcestershire sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degreesF.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl gently with hands. You want everything to be interspersed but if you mash the meat too hard the texture of the finished product will suffer.
- Line 3 sheet pans (or any baking sheet with sides) with parchment paper. I bake only one pan at a time for even baking so don't worry if you don't have 3, in that case put a piece of parchment on your counter and line 1 sheet pan.
- Shape mixture into spheres about 1.5 inches in diameter. Rinsing your hands in cold water every so often will prevent most sticking.
- Place shaped meatballs on lined sheet pan, approx. 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 12 minutes. Flip the meatballs. Bake for 15minutes more or until golden and crisp on the outside. Repeat with rest of the shaped meatballs.
- Use immediately or cool to room temp. Arrange in one layer on a sheet pan and freeze overnight-24 hours. Place in plastic zippered or vacuum bags. Store in freezer for up to 4 months. To reheat: place frozen meatballs in a skillet of sauce or 1/2 inch of water over med-high heat. Cover. Turn meatballs every few minutes until warmed through.
- VARIATION If you want to use these in a soup or as an appetizer/hors doeuvres for a party: Preheat oven to 350 degreesF. Shape the mixture smaller with a 1/2 inch cookie scoop. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, bake 5 minutes more.