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Great dinner last night from my new cookbook: REC: Lamb Meatballs Stuffed with Goat Cheese

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Joined: Dec 21, 2005


Posted to Thread #13272 at 3:31 am on Jan 3, 2009

This is sort of three great recipes in one, and easy to do. This is a wonderful cookbook - Urban Italian by Andrew Carmelli - a gift from my sister for Christmas, and I love this book. There are at least 20 things I want to make in it, 19 now!) A big thanks to Traca for writing about this chef in her blog, a fascinating interview!, and I never would have heard about this wonderful book...

Lamb Meatballs Stuffed with Goat Cheese
(takes 1 hr - makes 30 meatballs - serves 6 for antipasti or toss with penne or rigatoni for an entree for 4)

3 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine - 1/2 c
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t ground coriander seed
1 t ground fennel seed (I ground them myself)
1 T rosemary, minced
1/4 c goat cheese
1/2 # merguez sausage or 8 links (or 2 links hot Italian sausage w/o casings - I used 1/4 # each hot and mild Italian sausage in bulk)
1 # ground lamb
1/2 c dried breadcrumbs - plain
2 eggs
1/2 t salt


1/4 c olive oil
1 med onion, finely chopped (1 c)
1 28 oz can Italian tomatoes with juice (San Marzano if possible)
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/2 t salt
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t dried oregano

1/4 c Crumbs Yo (see end - these are amazing)
1/4 c grated pecorino cheese

Make the meatballs: heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and saute onion for 3 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add coriander, fennel and rosemary, cook for 1 minute longer then cool.

Meantime, roll the goat cheese into little 1/2" balls (size of pebbles or small marbles) - make 30 balls.

In a large bowl add cooled onion mixture, the sausage, lamb, breadcrumbs, beaten eggs and salt. Mix very well with your hands.

(With wet hands) roll 2 T of meat in palms and form into an oval about the size of a pingpong ball. Make an indentation and put the goat cheese ball in the center, fold up the meat around it and roll firmly into a round smooth ball. Makes about 30 balls (I would suggest chilling them at this point, as I have a very warm kitchen).

Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, saute onion and cook until it begins to soften, ~ 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes with your hands in a large bowl. Add to the pot and add the juice, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar and oregano. Saute over medium high heat 10 minutes, sauce will be reduced somewhat.

Add the meatballs carefully. Reduce the heat to low and cover, sauce should be at a low simmer, not boiling, slow as possible. After 5 minutes, carefully turn over meatballs with a spoon, and cover and cook another 5 minutes until the meat is cooked and the meat and sauce flavors have melded. Don't worry if some of the goat cheese leaks out of the meatballs. (Since I have a tetchy electric range I cooked mine for another 5 minutes after turning them a second time).

Ladle into a bowl, top with sprinkling of cheese and good sprinkling of the Crumbs Yo!.

These are soooo good! My largest skillet is 10" so I only cooked 12 meatballs and froze the rest on a tray, then put them into a baggie for next week. It's like money in the bank! I have five cooked meatballs left, tomorrow I'm going to make me the best sandwich in all of the west coast!

Crumbs Yo:

5 slices or 1-2 day old bread (or 1 c breadcrumbs - homemade or panko) (I used an olive oil-rosemary bread - so good)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
Flavorings - optional - use any or all or anything else you dream up:
1 T chopped fresh herbs - thyme or rosemary
zest of 1 lemon or orange
1 t ground fennel seed or other spice
1/4 cup bacon or pancetta, diced
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch of dried oregano

Tear bread into 2" cubes, place on a baking tray and bake at 300 for 10 minutes or until bread is completely dry. Cool just enough to handle then coarsely chop in a food processor to rough crumbs.

In a saute pan heat the oil over medium, add the breadcrumbs and salt and pepper and saute until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add aromatics for the last minute if you are using. Cool on a plate then store in a jar. Keeps for 2 days in the fridge or a long time in the freezer.

(At the rate I'm using these they won't last that long! Of course I did a lot more bacon - about 4 slices - and blitzed them gently in the mini chop to make them small. So far I've put them on my eggs and on top of a salad, and I'm sure there are lots of other uses out there!)

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."

LT Ulrich

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