Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lamb Meatballs in Garlicky Marinara

If you like meatballs, you know the best ones are melt-in-your-mouth tender. Whether you’re making them with beef, pork, lamb, or even chicken, I think the easiest way to ensure a juicy result is to use one key ingredient: milk-soaked bread.

Small pieces of soft white bread soaked in milk add extra moisture to the meat mixture, keeping the meatballs tender even after baking in a 375°F oven. No oil needed.

Here, I made a simple—and garlicky—marinara to accompany the savory lamb meatballs and rounded out the dish with Creamy Parmesan-Chive Polenta alongside. It’s downhome goodness with flavors—and texture—sure to please.

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup small, torn pieces soft white bread
  • 2/3 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped, divided
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
Prepared Ingredients 
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the bread cubes in a small bowl and pour the milk over them. Press the bread down to submerge and let soak 15 minutes.
  3. Combine the lamb, 1/3 of the chopped garlic, 1/3 of the chopped shallot, cheese, egg, and 1/3 of the chopped parsley in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Remove the bread from the milk, gently squeezing to remove excess. (Don’t squeeze too hard—leave a little milk clinging to the bread.) Add to the bowl with the lamb mixture and mix lightly to combine all.
  5. Divide the meat mixture in 12 1-1/2-inch-diameter balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bread in Milk 
Meatball Mixture
Soaked Bread Added
Combined Ingredients 
Ready to Bake
  1. Bake until tender and just cooked through, 18-20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a heavy, preferably cast-iron, skillet over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the remaining shallot and garlic and cook 3 minutes.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and wine and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a light simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes.
  4. Uncover and cook until slightly thickened, 10 minutes
  5. Add the baked meatballs and remaining parsley to the marinara, turning and stirring to coat well.
After Turning
Baked Meatballs
Garlic and Shallot
Cooked Marinara
Serve the meatballs and marinara over pasta, rice, or polenta.

Lamb Meatballs in Garlicky Marinara

1 comment:

  1. Garlicky is always good! Thanks for sharing on the "What's for Dinner" link up!