Lamb meatball salad

Serves 4-6

This dish has a bit of a Moroccan theme to it, but you could easily add other related ingredients that you have in your larder such as olives, chickpeas and pickled chillies.

Butchers and supermarkets normally sell decent mince at fairly reasonable prices and you can make a good amount of meatballs out of just half a kilo of mince which will be enough for a dinner party or family meal.

For the meatballs

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
tbsp ground cumin
1tsp paprika
2-3tbsp vegetable or corn oil
500g minced lamb
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g fresh white breadcrumbs

For the salad

4 long red or normal red peppers
Half a cucumber
2 hearts of cos lettuce, washed
A couple of handfuls of rocket, washed
A handful of mint leaves
2tbsp natural yoghurt
The juice of 1 lemon
4-5tbsp olive oil

First make the meatballs: gently cook the onion, garlic, cumin and paprika in a tablespoon of the vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes until soft, stirring every so often then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Mix the onions with the minced lamb and breadcrumbs and season well. Make a little tester by frying a piece of the mix, adjusting the seasoning and spices if necessary. Roll the meat into 50 pence-piece sized balls, flatten slightly and place on a tray in the fridge.

Meanwhile, halve the peppers lengthways and remove the seeds and stalk if using long ones or quarter normal ones. Place on a tray, skin side up, and place under a hot grill until the skins are black, then put them in a plastic bag for about 5-10 minutes to ease removing the skins.

In the meantime, heat some of the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan and cook the meatballs in batches, depending on the size of your pan, for 2-3 minutes on each side and browning them nicely.

While the meatballs are cooking, break up the large cos leaves and mix in a bowl with the rocket and two-thirds of the mint leaves. Chop the rest of the leaves and mix with the yoghurt. Mix the lemon juice and olive oil together and toss with the leaves, then transfer to one large bowl or individual serving bowls. Cut the peppers down a bit and arrange among and on the leaves with the meatballs, then spoon the yoghurt on top.

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