Paleo Lamb Meatballs + Garlic Tomato Sauce

20 Nov

When we first arrived in Stockholm, I came across several online discussion forums in which British, American and Canadian expats lamented about the difficulty of finding organic produce in Stockholm.  Quite a few people complained about the quality of meats relative to pricing.  One British person even shared that s/he brings back lamb every time s/he visits the UK, because s/he can’t stand the taste of lamb available in Stockholm!  (I am not sure how this transportation of lamb meat was achieved…)  Initially, these discussions scared and worried me; thankfully, however, I find our grocery-shopping experience in Stockholm to be just fine so far.  I don’t know how much the quality of  produce varies from one neighborhood to another, but we quite love our local Daglivs.  We can find most everything there.  Although we sometimes opt to indulge in fancier meats from the butcher in the Östermalmsaluhall (we LOVE M Seger Eftr. Kött & Ost) or Taylors & Jones, we are happy with our local supermarket, where we can even find Krav (organic) ground lamb.

Back in New York, I never buy ground lamb — in great part because, when I do see ground lamb, I know it’s not grass-fed or organic.  We opt to roast grass-fed lamb shoulders than to buy ground lamb.  When I found Krav ground lamb at our local supermarket, I knew what we’d have for dinner: lamb meatballs.  I make my paleo-version of meatballs a lot at home, but with ground turkey or, occasionally, veal — never lamb.  For my first lamb meatball attempt, I was inclined to also purchase this jar of marinated tomatoes — it seemed it would go well with lamb.

Normally, I put carrots, onions, and mushrooms in my meatballs.  When we got home, I realized I only had 1 carrot in the fridge — but I had a lot of asparagus, so I decided to add them in the meatballs, too.  The result was fantastic!   The asparagus pairs nicely with lamb, and gives it a fresh vegetable crunch.  I will definitely make this again and again while in Stockholm.


For lamb meatballs:

  • Ground lamb (about 2 lbs.)
  • Asparagus (1 bunch), chopped
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks scallions, finely chopped
  • 10 cremini mushrooms (approx.), finely diced
  • 7 slices of marinated tomatoes
  • 3 eggs

For the tomato sauce:

  • About a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 can of plain tomato sauce (chunky, no sugar)

Preheat the oven to 375F.

First, to make the meatballs: mince, chop, and dice all the vegetables as indicated above, as well as the marinated tomatoes.  Put them in a large bowl.

Add ground lamb into the bowl.  Mix the lamb and all the vegetables (I use my hands) evenly.  Crack 3 eggs into the bowl (I have David crack them for me, so I don’t have to wash my hands), and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle some olive oil in a large baking dish.  Roll the lamb/veg mixture into a ball — I make them a little smaller than the size of a tennis ball.  Place them in the baking dish.  Put them in the oven for about 25 minutes.

While the meatballs bake in the oven, you can make the tomato sauce.  Heat a saute pan with some olive oil in it.  When the pan is hot, add the sliced garlic.  Let the garlic sizzle for about a minute or two, and then add the cherry tomatoes.  Bring the heat down to a simmer.

The cherry tomatoes will release a lot of juice.  When the tomatoes have softened, add the can of tomatoes, season with salt and pepper.

After baking for about 25 minutes, the meatballs should be cooked through.  A lot of fat will have rendered out.  Let it rest for about 5 minutes.

When rested, put the meatballs in a bowl and top with the tomato sauce.  Enjoy!

P.S. I served the meatballs with a side of roasted beets, a combination that proved a major hit with David! x


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