Spicy Lamb and Bulgur Meatballs

  • Servings: MAKES 12 MEATBALLS

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  • 1/2 cup medium-grade bulgur wheat (3 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants
  • 1 tablespoon pure olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup minced mint
  • 1/4 cup minced dill
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons harissa (see Note) or other red chile paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for sautéing

How to make this recipe

  1. In separate bowls, soak the bulgur and currants in water until softened, about 30 minutes for the bulgur and 20 minutes for the currants. Drain, pressing on the solids to extract as much water as possible. Transfer the bulgur and currants to a large bowl.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the cumin and cardamom and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into the bulgur and let cool.

  3. Add the ground lamb to the bulgur, along with the parsley, mint, dill, egg white, harissa, salt and pepper and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide the bulgur-lamb mixture into 12 equal portions, roll into balls and set on a large plate.

  4. Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the meatballs and sauté over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain the meatballs on paper towels, then serve.


Harissa, a spicy condiment, is available at Middle Eastern groceries.

Serve With

A refreshing salad of watercress, mint and parsley dressed with a lemon-garlic vinaigrette.

Suggested Pairing

The harissa adds fire to the sweet and spicy Middle Eastern flavors of these meatballs. Cool them down with a pale ale.

Contributed By Published May 2000

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