Lamb Meatballs with Onion Chutney and Turnip Puree


Give your meatballs a Middle Eastern spin with chef Benjamin Lacy’s lamb take. Inspired by ground lamb kebobs known as luleh, he’s crafted a recipe featuring far-away spices like cumin, coriander and paprika. The balls are pan-fried and braised in beef stock for extra meat-y flavor. Lacy pairs them with a pepper-onion chutney and a curried turnip puree, but the meatballs do just fine on their own if you’re short on time.


For the pepper-onion chutney:
  • 1 large white onion, brunoised
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and brunoised
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/3 tablespoon turmeric
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seed, whole
For the turnip puree:
  • 4 turnips, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, julienned
  • 3 tablespoons cup salt
  • 1 pound butter, sliced
  • 1/4 bunch thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup madras curry
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
For the meatballs:
  • 3 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 large yellow onion, brunoised
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • rice flour, for coating
  • 2 quarts beef stock


For the chutney:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, bell pepper, salt, paprika, tumeric, cayenne and vinegar.
  2. Add the canola oil and mustard seeds to a pan and toast on medium heat until seeds are nutty and popping, usually 4-5 minutes. Add the oil and seeds to the onion and pepper bowl. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.
For the puree:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss the chopped turnip, onion and salt.
  2. Shingle half the butter slices in an even layer on the bottom of a medium stock pot. Add the turnip and onion mix and shingle the remaining half of the butter on top.
  3. Top the mix with thyme and bay leafs, cover with tin foil or lid. Cook over a very low flame for 2 hours until the turnips are tender.
  4. Stir in the curry powder, puree the mixture in a blender and pass through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Whisk in the creme fraiche.
For the meatballs:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mix together all the meatball ingredients except the beef stock and roll into 1-ounce balls.
  2. Toss the meatballs in rice flour and pan fry, turning regularly until a crust forms - usually two minutes. (Or, roast at 450ºF  for 8-10 minutes in a convection oven.)
  3. Place the meatballs in an ovenproof dish and cover with the beef stock (add a little water, if necessary). Braise for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool.

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