The City Magazine Since 1975

Sweet and Sour Lamb Meatballs

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For the tomato-orange marmalade sauce: 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 cup diced yellow onion 1/2 cup diced fennel bulb 1 Tbs. thinly sliced garlic 1/2 Tbs. crushed red pepper flakes 2 Tbs. kosher salt, divided 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1 (1 lb. 12 oz.) can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, spilt in half and seeds removed 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 8 oz. orange marmalade, preferably MacKays Orange Marmalade with Champagne Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper For the meatballs: 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup red wine 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) 2 Tbs. freshly grated parmesan cheese 2 Tbs. kosher salt 2 tsp. fennel seed, ground 2 tsp. cumin seed, ground 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 2 tsp. smoked paprika 1 tsp. oregano 1 lb. ground lamb shoulder 1/2 lb. ground lamb bacon or smoked slab bacon To assemble: 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chervil 2 Tbs. unsalted butter


For the tomato-orange marmalade sauce: Place the olive oil, onion, fennel, garlic, red pepper flakes, and two tablespoons salt in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for seven to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are golden in color and very soft. Add the red wine vinegar and cook for two minutes. Add the tomatoes and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the volume is reduced by a third. Add the orange marmalade and continue to cook for another two to three minutes. Remove from the heat, adjust the salt and pepper to taste, and let cool. Set aside for two to three days if possible. For the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the egg, cream, wine, panko, parmesan, salt, fennel, cumin, red pepper flakes, paprika, and oregano in a mixing bowl. Allow the panko to absorb the liquid. Add the ground lamb and lamb bacon. Mix evenly until just incorporated. Divide the mixture into about 30 meatballs the size of a ping-pong ball. Place them on a baking sheet with sides and bake for seven to eight minutes. They should only be cooked half way. To assemble: Heat the tomato-orange marmalade and stir in the herbs and butter. Stir in the meatballs and cook over low heat for about five minutes, or until just cooked. Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon to serving dish, leaving whatever marmalade coats them, but not adding marmalade to the dish. Place picks in the meatballs and serve warm.