Meatballs in Yoghurt Sauce
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1/2 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely minced yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced (see Notes)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon medium-hot coarsely ground red pepper such as Aleppo or Maras¸ pepper (see Notes), or hot paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin seeds (see Notes)
- To make the meatballs: Combine all the ingredients and mix well with your hands. Shape into 24 balls, dipping your hands in cold water as needed to keep the mixture from sticking.
- Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs; they should fit in a single layer. Fry gently, turning the meatballs with two soup spoons so they brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off and discard any fat in the skillet.
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the broth. Stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet and simmer until they dissolve. Return the meatballs to the skillet, cover, and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, and then transfer the meatballs to a plate using a slotted spoon.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg, garlic, dill, and mint. Slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot broth to warm the yogurt, and then pour the yogurt mixture into the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sauce visibly thickens and just begins to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return the meatballs to the skillet and turn to coat them with the sauce. Cover and simmer gently until hot.
- Divide the meatballs and sauce among 4 to 6 warmed bowls. Put the butter in a small saucepan or butter warmer and set over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the red pepper and cumin and swirl the pan until the butter foams and sizzles and the pepper’s aroma rises. Drizzle each portion with some of the red-pepper butter. Garnish with chopped dill.