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Lamb meatballs

Braised Lamb Meatballs with soft Polenta

This lamb meatballs recipe was shared once by the American Lamb Board and luckily I saved it before it went away.  I always try to share recipes that include ingredients that most everyone has in their kitchen already if they cook much at all.  This one might reach out just a tad with the specific tomatoes and I chose the castelvetrano olives as a personal preference but any olive will work.  If you don’t like olives, just delete.  But man I have grown to love those castelvetrano olives.
This dish is a great appetizer and I use those soft flour tortilla shell bowls to hold it all in and they work great.
This a very hearty dish I think you will love.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Keyword: lamb
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 568kcal
Author: Matthew Accarrino


Lamb Meatballs

  • 1 pound West Fork Farms Ground Lamb
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 each Egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Unseasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Cheese
  • 2 tbsp Parsley finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Castelvetrano Olives


  • 28 ounces San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 4 sprigs Thyme
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp Bacon Bits
  • 1 each Medium Red Onion minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 6 each Garlic Cloves peeled & smashed
  • 3/4 cup Dry Red Wine
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste


  • 3 cup Water
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Polenta
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Cheese


  • First, prepare the braising base for the lamb meatballs. In a large oven-safe casserole/Dutch oven, begin by cooking the minced bacon in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and season lightly with salt. Cook until the red onion is soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, then deglaze with wine and cook for a few minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Tie the rosemary and thyme together with kitchen twine, bring the sauce to a simmer and add to the braising liquid. Simmer while you make the meatballs.
  • For the meatballs, combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, ricotta, pecorino, egg, parsley, cumin and paprika in a bowl and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper. Using a small sauté pan with just a bit of olive oil sauté a small test patty to check for seasoning. Correct the seasoning if necessary. Form the desired size meatballs; this is best done with a scoop or tablespoon to ensure even sizing. Place the meatballs in a lightly sprayed oven-safe sauté pan and broil on high until browned, about 5 minutes. This initial step will set the shape of the meatballs.
  • When the meatballs have been browned transfer to the tomato braising liquid. Place a parchment cover on the casserole pan and transfer to an oven at 350-degrees. Braise the meatballs in the sauce for about 40 minutes.
  • While the meatballs are braising, make the polenta. Combine the milk and water in a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Whisk continually as you carefully scatter in the polenta to avoid lumps. The polenta will thicken as it comes to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat down and cook the polenta slowly until it is tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Finish the polenta with butter, olive oil and pecorino cheese (to your liking). Set aside.
  • Remove the herbs from the braised meatballs and add the olives. To serve, place a spoon of the polenta onto a shallow bowl or plate. Top with a few meatballs and some of the braising sauce and olives. Garnish with mint leaves, pecorino cheese, olive oil and black pepper.


Calories: 568kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 1490mg | Potassium: 619mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 779IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 276mg | Iron: 4mg
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