Cookbook Profile

Minted Lamb Meatballs
with Fresh Green Herbs and Yogurt

Makes about 16 meatballs; serves 4


This is a version of a dish made by a friend who is an émigré from southern Iran, but it could be Turkish as well. The meatballs are always served with a bowl of yogurt and another of mixed green herbs—tarragon, mint, chives, and fenugreek. The yogurt is spooned alongside the meatballs and topped with the herbs. I offer the dish as an appetizer, but the recipe can easily be increased and the meatballs presented as a main course. The fragrant herbed cooking liquid in which the meatballs simmer makes a wonderful broth for cooking rice.


1 pound lean ground lamb
1/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
   flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 large sprig
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus 1 large sprig
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups water
1/2 cup plain yogurt

For the herb topping:
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons fresh, young fenugreek (optional)


In a large bowl, combine the lamb, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, egg, minced parsley and mint, salt, pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly. Shape the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut. You should have about 16 meatballs.

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the mint and parsley sprigs and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the meatballs and simmer until no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes. Scoop out the meatballs and place in a bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid for another use, if desired.

Spoon the yogurt into a small serving bowl. To make the topping, combine all the herbs in a separate bowl and stir well. Serve the meatballs hot or warm with the yogurt and the mixed green herbs.

Buy the Book!


The Mediterranean Herb Cookbook
Fresh and Savory Recipes
from the Mediterranean Garden

By Georgeanne Brennan
Chronicle Books
Paperback, $22.95
Full color photographs throughout
ISBN: 0-8118-1990-6
Recipe reprinted by permission.


The Mediterranean Herb Cookbook



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This page created August 2000