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Recipe: Lamb Meatballs with Spicy Afghan Sauce, from 'America's Best BBQ Homestyle'

Here's a recipe from "America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What the Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards," by Ardie Davis and Paul Kirk, featured in today's Buffalo News.

Pepper Monkey Lamb Meatballs

Makes about 48 meatballs, serving 10 to 12

We had to include this fantastic
recipe because the marriage of fresh ginger, garlic,
mint, feta cheese, spinach, and freshly ground lamb with complementary spicy
seasonings grilled over direct heat yields an outstanding flavor. Cover them with
Spicy Afghan Green Sauce and you’ll be serving one of the most remarkable
backyard barbecues ever. Friends who think they don’t like lamb will rave about
these meatballs.

SPICY
AFGHAN GREEN SAUCE

1
bunch fresh cilantro

1/2
to 1 jalapeno, depending on how spicy you want your sauce

1
cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

3
cloves garlic

1
cup plain Greek yogurt

2
tablespoons seasoned salt

Juice
of 1 lemon

1
teaspoon agave nectar

MEATBALLS

1
tablespoon cumin seeds (see Notes)

2
tablespoons coriander seeds

Seeds
from 4 cardamom pods

Seeds
from 2 star anise

1
tablespoon ground turmeric

3
tablespoons seasoned salt

1
tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1
teaspoon ground cinnamon

1
teaspoon cayenne

4
to 5 pounds ground lamb (see Notes)

1
medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2
tablespoons peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger

4
cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2
bunch fresh mint, chopped

1/2
cup crumbled feta cheese

1
cup cooked spinach, chopped

Make the Spicy Afghan Green Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in
a blender or food proces­sor and puree until smooth. This can be done 1 to 3
days in advance. It is best to make the sauce at least 1 day in advance to give
the fla­vors time to blend.

Preheat a grill to about 375 F for direct cooking.

Make the meatballs: Place the cumin, cori­ander, cardamom seeds,
and star anise in a small skillet over medium heat and toast until fragrant, 2
to 3 minutes. Let cool, then grind in a spice or coffee grinder. Add the
turmeric, seasoned salt, black pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne and mix well.

Place the ground lamb in a large bowl. Add the spices along with
the onion, ginger, garlic, mint, feta, and spinach and mix well, but do not
over­mix as this will result in a tough texture. Form the mixture into
meatballs 1 to 11/2 inches in diameter.

Place the meatballs on the grill grate and cook for about 14
minutes, or until the internal tem­perature reaches 160 F on a meat
thermometer, rotating the meatballs frequently to ensure that they caramelize
evenly.

Serve with the dipping sauce.

Notes: You may substitute
store-bought garam masala for the homemade spice mixture here.

You can have a butcher grind the meat, or you can do it yourself
at home, using a meat grinder or food processor.

(From America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What the Champions Cook in Their Own
Backyards, By Ardie Davis and Paul Kirk, Andrews McMeel)

 

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