Lamb and feta meatballs

I’m just no good at health kicks. At the end of this term here in Cambridge, we have May Week – a week in June (confusingly) of grand balls that go on all night – involving food stalls, live music and fairground rides it is like a week of mini festivals, providing the motivation to get through the exams that precede them. They are the fanciest events I’ll have ever been to – requiring long dresses and an entire afternoon to get ready. As a result, I am currently surrounded by a lot of people on health kicks. Eating salads, cutting out carbs, going high protein: the methods vary but the aim is the same. Whilst I completely admire and understand this, it leaves me and my supplies of rocky road for the gang a bit lost. I’ve never been good at a health kick: I can last two days of Greek salad before getting bored. And the way I make a Greek salad, with generous amounts of feta and good olive oil, probably aren’t that great for you. Nevertheless, I kept finding myself with a half-packet of feta languishing lonely at the back of my fridge. This was the recipe to solve that problem!

Lamb feta meatballs

I understand that most people out there, even students, don’t have a hob like me that turns off every seven minutes and so this recipe is for you! For me, this recipe means half an hour of standing in my tiny kitchen setting an alarm to remind myself to turn the hob back on the five times that it shut off whilst my meatballs cooked. For everyone else, this recipe can bubble away for half an hour on the cooker whilst you leave it to do some work (or watch an episode and a half of New Girl, whichever is more likely). Hob faff aside, the results are definitely worth it! I’ve had the basic premise of this recipe saved from the Smitten Kitchen blog for over a year now and I’m so pleased I finally got round to it. I simplified it a fair bit for my student budget, storage capabilities and timescale but I’m sure the extra herbs and red pepper involved in the original recipe would be equally delicious.

Lamb and feta meatballs in tomato sauce

For the meatballs:

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 55g feta, crumbled
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsps dried oregano
  • 2tbsps olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1tsp dried oregano

Mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl with plenty of salt and pepper. Shape into balls slightly smaller than a ping pong ball – I got about 16. Heat a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat, add a tbsp of oil and evenly space the meatballs in the pan: I tend to arrange them like a clock face so you know which ones to turn first. I did mine in 2 batches. Brown the meatballs all over, then remove to a bowl while you make the tomato sauce.

Wipe out all but a 1tbsp of oil from the frying pan and add the onion. Fry on a medium-low heat until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and let cook out for 30 seconds before adding the tin of tomatoes, salt and pepper. Return the meatballs to the sauce and simmer gently for 10-15minutes until the meatballs are completely cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Serve with rice and some extra crumbled feta. Serves 2 generously, or one plus lots of leftovers!