Merguez Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

Meatballs are a cocktail party standard, but this version, dunked into minty yogurt sauce, is hardly predictable. The spicing takes its cue from merguez, a type of Moroccan sausage. The meat will taste best if blended up to a day in advance, but cooked at the last possible moment or it will dry out.–Tori Ritchie

Merguez Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 50 M
  • Makes about 20 servings

Ingredients

  • For the meatballs
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef (not too lean)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the yogurt sauce
  • 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  • Make the meatballs
  • 1. Put the meat in a large bowl and add the garlic, cilantro, vinegar, paprika, cumin, coriander, salt, and a generous grinding of pepper. Mix it with your hands until well blended. Set aside.
  • 2. Preheat a broiler and adjust the rack so it is about 4 inches from the heating element.
  • 3. Form the meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them on a baking sheet with sides (work in batches if necessary). Broil the meatballs until they are no longer pink inside, about 8 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice so the meatballs cook evenly. Transfer them to paper towels to drain.
  • Make the yogurt sauce
  • 4. Blend the yogurt, mint, and cilantro in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, or in a blender. (Meat mixture and sauce can each be made up to 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated separately.)
  • To serve the meatballs and yogurt sauce
  • 5. Skewer the meatballs with toothpicks and serve them immediately on a platter with the yogurt sauce in a small bowl alongside. (Offer guests a small container or glass for depositing used toothpicks.)
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Matilda Luk

Jan 21, 2004

Quick and simple to make, these meatballs are full of flavour. The accompanying sauce, cool and fresh-tasting, made a great counterpart to the savory meat. They were devoured rather greedily.

Testers Choice
Donna Desfor

Jan 21, 2004

These bite-size meatballs pack a wallop of exotic flavors that do not stop. As an appetizer or tapas serving, the meatballs are beautiful to look at with the colors of herbs and spices mixed through the meat. The cilantro yogurt dip is a solid counterpart to the huge flavor of the meatballs, which really strikes a flavorful balance. Do not even think about letting the meatballs cook one minute longer than recommended, and make a least two batches. These will not stick around long!


Comments
Comments
  1. C. M. says:

    This was delicious, and the spices do give the lamb a very sausage-y taste. I’d consider adding a little bit of heat the next time — perhaps a hotter paprika or aleppo pepper. Additionally, I really made them 1 inch in size, and found the meatballs best when cooked just under 8 minutes. They tended to dry out slightly otherwise.

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