Main Dish

Mrs. Rita's Famous Moroccan Lamb and Beef Meatballs

Spicy Vines

441 Healdsburg Ave.
Healdsburg, CA 95448

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2019
  • RECIPE BY: Mrs. Rita's Kitchen
  • YIELD: Serves 4
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: "Dragon's Kiss" Syrah

These are the most delicious lamb and beef meatballs you've ever had, especially when paired with Spicy Vines "Dragon's Kiss" Syrah.

Pomegranate Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
To make the pomegranate glaze, in a saucepan, combine the pomegranate juice, sugar, water, vinegar, honey and pomegranate seeds and simmer, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the glaze cool. 

Lamb and Beef Meatballs

  • 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (85% to 90% lean)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
To prepare the meatballs, in a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and half-and-half and let stand until the bread crumbs are moistened. 

Meanwhile, in a small frying pan over medium heat, cook the onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Add to the bowl with the bread crumbs. 

Add the egg, salt, ras el hanout and smoked paprika to the  bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the ground lamb and beef and mix until combined. 

Using damp hands, form the meat mixture into 16 meatballs, keeping your hands dampened with water to prevent sticking. 

As you form each meatball, roll it in the pomegranate glaze, then place in a shallow dish. Pour the remaining glaze over the meatballs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large cast-iron or other ovenproof frying pan, warm the olive oil. Add the meatballs and cook until browned on all sides, brushing them with any remaining pomegranate glaze as they brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Harissa Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 dried Thai chile, seeded and ground
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground harissa spice blend
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
To prepare the harissa dipping sauce, in a large saucepan, warm the olive oil. Add the bell peppers, onion, garlic and Thai red chile and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, lemon juice, vinegar,  paprika, salt, harissa spice blend, sugar, cinnamon and cilantro and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. 


Serve the meatballs with the harissa dipping sauce alongside, or combine them together before serving. 

Spicy Vines

441 Healdsburg Ave.
Healdsburg, CA 95448