Lamb Meatballs with Apricot Glaze

This week Matthew and I celebrated our three year anniversary. It's the one day a year we're guaranteed to drink tequila and exchange super cheesy cards. Sound like lots of fun? It is.

As it was to be our last dating anniversary before getting married this summer, conversation turned toward the future. But not in the cute "let's get old together" way. More in the "shit, we're getting married in a couple of months and are completely unprepared" way. We've glibly thrown out in the world that we're going to cater the event ourselves and then done next-to-nothing in terms of prep. Normal course of events around here...

So, in recipe testing to the point of being delighted with exactly one dish, this is a sneak peak into what we'll be serving! If it's good enough for our wedding, it's for sure good enough to warm your cold, cold February bones.

PS - weddings certainly don't mean an end to adventures, and I'm planning mine for October in Chianti. Want to come with?!?!?! Trip details are up here!

Lamb Meatballs

Ingredients

Sauce:
2 cups apricot jam
1 cup vinegar
2 cups tomato passata
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves garlic
2 cups chicken stock

Meatballs:
2 lbs medium lean ground lamb
1 lb medium lean ground beef
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (toasted in a dry frying pan - careful not to burn!)
1 large clove garlic, squished
1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
1/4 onion, finely diced
1 cup breadcrumbs
8 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground corriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
Salt and pepper (lots)


Directions

Make the sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pot. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. When it's soft the garlic can be smooshed against the side to combine.

For the meatballs, start by toasting the spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Then mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl, using your hands to squish it all together and distribute the spices.

Heat up a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and when it starts to shimmer cook off a small meatball to test for seasoning. You may need to add more salt and pepper.

Form the remaining balls using your hands or a cookie scoop, making sure to press in slightly so that they hold together. Any you're saving for a later date can be frozen on a cookie sheet. Once they're firm transfer to freezer bags; they will keep for 3 months. Defrost in the fridge before cooking.

Any you want to eat immediately can be dropped directly into your simmering sauce. Be sure to take some sauce out to save for those frozen meatballs or you'll be tempted to eat it all in one sitting. The sauce also freezes well.

Cook the meatballs in sauce for 30 minutes, until no longer pink in the middle. Make sure that you're really gentle with them for the first 5 minutes so they don't break apart and then toss them around once in a while to stay coated in sauce!

Serve with coleslaw, pita, and yogurt (topped with olive oil and za'atar if you're feeling fancy).