How to make lamb meatballs with perfectly light texture courtesy of pilsner lager.
Go straight to the Recipe Card or read on for a few relevant tips.
About These Lamb Meatballs with a Splash of Pilsner
The carbonation in lager has applications beyond quick beer breads and beer batters. Many years ago I learned from my grandmother that light and juicy meatballs must either be made with a bit of yogurt and baking soda or beer. I cannot say that one approach yields better results than the other – I love them both. Both help the meatballs rise. Both yield plump and airy meatballs.
As a cooking with beer veteran I frequently leverage highly carbonated beers when making meatballs. The ground meat mixture becomes nice and loose (without impeding manual handling and shaping) and the resulting meatballs boast a wonderfully light texture.
Pilsner being both complementary flavor-wise and highly carbonated is my top choice beer to use with lamb meatballs.
Objectively, you will not taste much of its gorgeous bready flavors and herbal, grassy aroma because this recipe calls for a lot of cumin which entirely obliterates the subtle pilsner notes. But texture wise pilsner is a great way to infuse your lamb meatballs with tiny air bubbles. They turn out light, plump and fluffy, with just enough density to hold all the juices. Simply perfect.
How to Make Lamb Meatballs with Cumin, Feta & Pilsner
- Prep work. Bring your ground lamb to room temperature before handling it. Finely chop the green onion and parsley, mince the garlic, crumble the feta.
- Mix and shape. Combine all the ingredients together, mix well and shape into balls (use a 1 tbsp measuring spoon for uniformity).
- Cook. You can pan fry, air fry or bake these lamb meatballs, it is up to you.
- They rise the best when baked, but baking also dries out the surface, so as soon as you get them out of the oven brush them with a bit of olive oil. (In the pictures you see them baked.)
- If pan frying have the cooking oil be about 1/2 inch deep, 350 F.
- If air frying set temperature to 350 F.
TIP: Be generous with the cumin. Lamb meat and cumin is a match in heaven and the saltiness of feta cheese plays on the combo.
What to Serve with Lamb Meatballs
- I love to serve these meatballs over buttery Israeli couscous with pine nuts, feta and mint, accompanied by a delightful yogurt dip. Just like you see in the picture above. It is a very flavorful spread, at the same time really light.
- Another favorite are these feta cheese fries with oregano.
- Crispy roasted potatoes with herbs.
- All kinds of fresh salads from the Mideastern and Mediterranean culinary traditions are complementary. For example Greek salad or lettuce salad with kalamata olives, red onions and feta.
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- 1 lb ground lamb, lean
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup Pilsner*
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta, sheep's milk, in brine is best
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced very thin
- 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
- fresh mint, to taste
- Bring the ground lamb to room temperature.
- Turn oven on to 350 F. Line a half sheet baking sheet (or two quarter sheets) with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil and combine using your hands until a uniform mixture is achieved.
- Dip fingers in the 1/3 cup of olive oil and start to form small meatballs (use a 1 tbsp measure to make them uniform in size). Place the meatballs onto the sheet pan.
- Bake for 25 -30 mins (depending on your oven) and let cool down for a minute before brushing with the 2 tbsp olive oil.
- In a large pan over medium low heat melt 1 tbsp butter and add the pine nuts. Stir and cook until they turn golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Melt the rest of the butter in the same pan over medium heat.
- Add the couscous and stir, cook until it is slightly browned.
- Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.
- Stir well, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the couscous absorbs all the liquid.
- Remove from heat, add the pine nuts, stir and let cool off slightly.
- Transfer to a serving platter, add the feta crumbles and mint and stir a little bit.
- Serve with the lamb meatballs and the yogurt sauce** on the side.
*Substitute with 3 tbsp plain yogurt + 1 tsp baking soda for a very similar effect on the texture of the meatballs.
**Here is the yogurt dip recipe.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 562Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 729mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 29g