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
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes | Makes about 20 servings
- 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
- 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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Merguez Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce Recipe © 2004 Tori Ritchie. Photo © 2004 Victoria Pearson. All rights reserved.