Dive into the rustic-yet-refined world of modern Swedish cuisine with Lagom, which means “not too much and not too little.” Blogger Steffi Knowles-Dellner is a master of this delicate balance. Try her lamb meatballs with lentils and cumin for a hearty, earthy dinner packed with protein and flavor.
This is really a very simple recipe with plenty of room for experimentation. Try upping the lentil quantity and using less meat or perhaps adding some dried chili to the mix or sauce for an extra kick. Take care not to overcook the lentils as the mushier they get, the more difficult it will be for the meatballs to hold their shape. I love that these are oven-baked – it means no constant hovering over the frying pan and makes for a much healthier meal.
- olive oil, for greasing
- Generous 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1 1/3 cups lean lamb mince (ground lamb)
- 1 onion, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Generous 2 cups couscous, cooked to packet instructions, to serve
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée (paste)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
- 1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 small bunch coriander, roughly chopped, plus extra leaves to garnish
For the meatballs
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and generously grease a baking sheet with a little oil. Cook the lentils according to the packet instructions. Drain well and leave to cool a little. Tip into a large bowl with the lamb, onion, garlic, egg, spices and herbs. Season generously and combine to form a very wet mixture.
Roll the mixture into balls (grease your hands with a little oil to make a little easier), about 1 1/4 inches in diameter, and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan and fry the onion over a low-medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and fry until toasted and fragrant. Add the tomato purée and cook for a minute or two, then add the vinegar and cook for a further minute. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and a ladleful of water and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened. Carefully stir through the meatballs and the herbs. Serve on top of the couscous garnished with extra coriander.