When I was growing up, lamb was probably my least favourite meat, possibly the woolly lanolin flavour that seemed to be the overriding memory of lamb dishes of the 1980s. However these days I can’t get enough of it, especially from Scottish heritage breeds and Scottish lamb is very much back on the menu countrywide. Therefore Scotch Lamb have launched the ‘Wham bam thank you lamb’ campaign to further spread the message of the versatility of the many cuts available with a series of every day quick recipes.
At the Scottish launch event in the elegant surroundings of Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, Jess Shepherd, one of the chefs there, demonstrated several dishes and one of those that always stands out for me was meatballs. Quick, tasty, simple, cheap and great to make with children. Therefore I’m giving you my take on lamb meatballs here, with the sole additions of smoked garlic and rosemary. The tomato sauce is a very simple affair but was finished with a little knob of butter just as Marcella Hazan recommended!
My top tip here is to ignore conventional wisdom that tells you to brown the meatballs but cook them South Asian style with no browning and let the flavours reach equilibrium between meatball and sauce.
Lamb meatballs with smoked garlic and rosemary
250g lamb mince
1 clove smoked garlic finely crushed
1 sprig rosemary finely chopped
1 slice bread made into breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp salt
Good grinding black pepper
Glug red wine
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Splash olive oil
Splash sherry vinegar
Small knob butter
1. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and combine into a homogenous mixture. Shape into meatballs roughly golf ball size
2. In a heavy based pan that will accommodate all the meatballs bring the ingredients for the sauce except the butter to a simmer and cook for around ten minutes until the sauce has stopped looking ‘wet’
3. add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for ten minutes then turn over and simmer for a further 10. At this point the mince should be cooked through. Add the butter to the sauce and mix, checking for seasoning.
4. Serve with a fresh cooked pasta of choice, I prefer linguine but it’s up to yourself.