Lamb Polpette with Yogurt-Mint Sauce

Lauterbach Cellars

3420 Woolsey Road
Windsor, CA 95492

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2018
  • RECIPE BY: Laurel's Catering
  • YIELD: Serves 10
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Lauterbach 2013

This Mediterranean twist on the classic meatball pairs well with Syrah. The meatballs can be fried, baked or even grilled. We serve them with the traditional Greek yogurt sauce known as tzatziki.

Yogurt-Mint Sauce

  • 1 cucumber
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus more, to taste
  • 4 fresh mint leaves, minced
To prepare the yogurt-mint sauce, peel the cucumber and remove the seeds, then grate the cucumber into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and let stand for 10 minutes.

Wrap the grated cucumber in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to remove excess moisture.

In a bowl, stir together the cucumber, garlic, olive oil, yogurt, 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar and a pinch of salt. Alternatively, in a blender, pour in the olive oil and garlic and blend until combined. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cucumber, yogurt, vinegar and salt. This will help the garlic to mix better with the other ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate the yogurt-mint sauce until ready to use. Stir in the mint just before serving and serve cold.

Lamb Meatballs

  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 large red onion, grated
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (medium-fine) (gluten-free if preferred)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Pecorino Romano and Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • All-purpose flour for dredging (gluten-free if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, or as needed
  • Warm pita bread for serving
To prepare the lamb meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the ground lamb, onion, garlic, oregano, mint, cumin, coriander, bread crumbs, egg, 1 tablespoon olive oil, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients, squeezing with your hands to allow the flavors to blend. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Roll the lamb mixture into balls, each the size of a walnut. Dredge the meatballs lightly in flour until well coated. Transfer to a plate, shaking off any excess flour.

The traditional way of cooking Greek lamb meatballs is to fry them in plenty of oil. In a large, deep fry pan over medium-high heat, pour in olive oil to a depth of 1/2 inch and heat until it begins to ripple. Working in batches, add the meatballs in a single layer and fry, turning occasionally, until browned and crisp on all sides, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a paper towel–lined plate.

If you prefer a lighter version, you can bake or grill the meatballs. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the meatballs on a greased baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Transfer to the oven and bake, turning the meatballs over halfway through the cooking time, until browned and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Serve the meatballs with the yogurt-mint sauce and warm pita bread.

Lauterbach Cellars

3420 Woolsey Road
Windsor, CA 95492