Lamb meatballs in harissa with salted cucumbers

Lamb meatballs in harissa with salted cucumbers
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Hands-on time 35 min

Middle-Eastern-spiced lamb pairs with salted cucumber, mint and chilli sauce in this flavour-packed lamb meatball recipe.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
329kcals
Fat
23.5g (8.6g saturated)
Protein
25.8g
Carbohydrates
2.7g (2g sugars)
Fibre
1.5g
Salt
2.1g
Calories
329kcals
Fat
23.5g (8.6g saturated)
Protein
25.8g
Carbohydrates
2.7g (2g sugars)
Fibre
1.5g
Salt
2.1g

Ingredients

For the salted cucumber

  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes

For the meatballs

  • 500g British lamb mince
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • Grated zest 1 lemon
  • Splash vegetable oil for frying

For the chilli sauce

  • 2 tbsp harissa (we like Belazu)
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • Glug argan oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • Yogurt and fresh mint to serve

Method

  1. Put the cucumber in a sieve set over a deep bowl, scatter the sea salt over it, toss, then leave for 30 minutes. Toss occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Put all the ingredients except the oil in a mixing bowl, season well with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Shape into 20-24 meatballs the size of walnuts and set aside.
  3. For the chilli sauce, stir the harissa, lemon juice and oil together in a small bowl (see tip). Taste and season – it should be on the sharp side.
  4. Heat a large frying pan with a splash of vegetable oil. When hot, fry the meatballs over a medium heat, turning occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Put most of the chilli sauce into a wide bowl, add the meatballs and toss to coat. Leave them for 2-3 minutes to soak in the sauce and cool down a little.
  5. Meanwhile, rinse the cucumber and pat dry with kitchen paper. Spread a thick layer of yogurt onto a serving platter, scatter over the cucumber and mint, then add the meatballs. Spoon over more of the chilli sauce (serve the rest alongside in a bowl)

delicious. tips

  1. Harissa brands vary in heat, so add half the quantity and taste, then add as needed.

  2. Make the meatballs up to 48 hours in advance, without frying, then chill, covered. Or freeze on trays, then bag up for up to 1 month. Defrost before continuing with the recipe.

  3. Argan oil is made from the toasted nuts of the Moroccan argan tree. It has a unique taste, but it’s pricey: available from ottolenghi.co.uk and other online suppliers – or use quality olive oil.

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