Lamb meatballs in tomato sauce

lamb meatballs


On Saturday we have been wined and dined exquisitely, including a spectacular tasting goose with all the trimmings. There is nothing so joyful than a long table full of happy people, laughter & merriment, champagne, good food and a few treasures form a well-stocked cellar. I am still dreaming about that particular goose with apple, thyme & chestnuts, red cabbage and Klöße (dumplings) and I am quite sure that something along those lines will become our Christmas dinner.

I don’t know about you, but I never have problems thinking about dishes for big occasions: Christmas, birthdays, dinners and can daydream about splendid meals – preferably perusing favourite cookbooks on a weekend lie-in where the only problem that presents itself is to make a decision when spoilt for choice. The everyday supper on the other hand proves more of a challenge: a weekday meal has to be simpler though equally tasty and sumptuous not just nutrition. I have decreed that there have to be more vegetarian meals and fish to my delight (& my husbands chagrin). Above all I strive for variety, to include new recipes, different preparations – everything to mix it up, basically and avoid boredom & routine.

Once you look, there are a lot of delicious lamb meatball recipes across the whole southern Mediterranean, Northern Africa and Middle East. Each one sounding more enticing than the next and I have promised myself to try some with spinach & chickpeas and others in a sour cherry tomato sauce. Inspired by all of them I made this one up myself to include the little sour barberries from the larder overhaul, alluring oriental spices and lots of fresh green herbs, which counterbalance the sweetness of the lamb. Resulting in little meatballs of supreme flavour in a simple aromatic tomato sauce we were so enthralled with that my husband called dibs on all leftovers before I could even blink. Bless him, they are in the freezer now for a quick meal when the bird has flown the nest to visit her mother and is not badgering him to eat lots of vegetables with them. Combine with the former chickpea, carrot & chard dish for a complete & comforting weekday supper.



lamb meatballs in tomato sauce

More balls for easy suppers (would you leave that joke out?): yummy salmon-dill fish cakes, turkey meatballs in a ginger glaze with griddled pak-choi & gorgeous Mexican meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce. Go crazy.



Lamb meatballs in tomato sauce

Makes 30 small meatballs. I prefer the dainty ones to the larger specimens for their cuteness but if you like to cut down on the work and roll bigger balls, adjust the final cooking time accordingly (10-15 minutes longer). Leave the sauce, cook them in a frying pan and take the tasty lamb meatballs for a picnic.


500g / 17 ½ oz lamb mince
1 egg
1 red onion, finely minced
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
¼ cup (25g) bread crumbs
2 tablespoons barberries
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 handful coriander, chopped
¾ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon Piment d’Espelette
¼ teaspoon curry powder
1 pinch cinnamon
salt & black pepper
Olive oil

Tomato sauce:
1 red onion, chopped
olive oil
1 bottle tomato passata (700g or 720ml / 24.7 oz or 24 fl oz.) or tins of equal weight
1 bottle passata rustica aka crushed tomatoes (680g / 24 oz) or tins of equal weight
salt & pepper


For the tomato sauce: Sauté the onion in olive oil until soft & translucent, add both tomato passata & crushed tomatoes. Cook on a low flame for minimum 30 minutes, better for an hour into an aromatic sauce, adding a little water if needed. Season with salt & pepper.

For the lamb meatballs: thoroughly mix all ingredients and knead for a few minutes. Form walnut-sized balls and fry quickly on all sides in a pan with a little olive oil until brown on all sides and decant into the tomato sauce to cook through for 15-20 minutes.



lamb meatballs in tomato sauce

Lammhackbällchen in Tomatensauce

Ergibt 30 Stück. Ich bevorzuge kleinere Hackbällchen (hier pikant durch die säuerlichen Berberitzen, orientalisch inspirierten Gewürzen und viel frischer Kräuter in einer simplen aber sehr aromatischen Tomatensauce) im Gegensatz zu voluminöseren Exemplaren. Natürlich kann man sich auch ein wenig Arbeit sparen, größere Kugeln formen und die letzte Kochzeit entsprechend anpassen (ca. 10-15 Minuten länger).


500g Lammhackfleisch
1 Ei
1 rote Zwiebel, fein gewürfelt
1 kleine Knoblauchzehen, fein gehackt
¼ Tasse (25g) Semmelbrösel
2 EL getrocknete Berberitzen
1 Handvoll glatte Petersilie, gehackt
1 Handvoll Koriander, gehackt
¾ TL Kreuzkümmel
½ TL Piment d’Espelette
¼ TL Curry
1 Prise Zimt
Salz & schwarzer Pfeffer

1 rote Zwiebel, gehackt
1 Flasche Passata (passierte Tomaten, 700g / 720ml)
1 Flasche Passata rustica (Tomatenstücke, 680g)
Salz, Pfeffer
Für die Tomatensauce die Zwiebelwürfel in Olivenöl glasig dünsten und beide Sorten Tomaten hinzugeben. Langsam auf kleiner Flamme zu einer aromatischen Sauce einkochen lassen (mindestens 30 Minuten, besser 1 Stunde und länger). Eventuell etwas Wasser hinzugeben wenn die Sauce zu dick wird und mit Salz & Pfeffer würzen.

Für die Fleischbällchen alle Zutaten gut vermischen und für einige Minuten durchkneten, dann zu Walnussgrossen Kugeln formen. Diese in heißem Olivenöl auf allen Seiten kurz anbraten und schließlich in der Tomatensauce für ca. 15-20 Minuten durchgaren.


4 thoughts on “Lamb meatballs in tomato sauce

    • Linda, I have fallen in love with lamb meatballs, I was so spoilt for choice of great recipes from Morocco to Syria – I believe the simple tomato sauce balances them brilliantly. Thanks, have a great day too. N xx

  1. Sounds like Saturday was a blast. I love lamb meatballs and this recipe looks perfect. Nice addition of barberries and i love Piment d’espelette. Wow. I’m coming over.

    • It was such fun & we dined in splendour. Thank you, I really love the sourness of barberries & they are good compromise for the “No fruit in my dinner”-brigade. You are most welcome, I’ll make more then. N xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.