Every cuisine seems to have meatballs, and this recipe has a spicy, Turkish flavor thanks to the paprika, cumin, lamb, and roasted tomatoes. They can be prepared two different ways: Keep them plain or wrap them in an egg noodle for a Turkish Dumpling (the Turkish version of tortellini or ravioli). The dumplings do take a bit of time to prep, but they are well worth it, and the prep time is a great opportunity to make memories with family. When you do not have the extra time but want the flavor try as spicy little meatballs.
These meatballs are great for appetizers or as a main dish. Consider them as a side for a holiday party.
1 pound ground beef (or ½ ground beef & ½ ground lamb)
¼ bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1-1 ½ teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (14 oz) diced fire roasted tomatoes with garlic
1-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1 red bell pepper, optional
fresh flat leaf parsley, optional garnish
Make yogurt sauce by stirring together yogurt, 2-cloves crushed garlic and pinch salt. Refrigerate to blend flavors.
Grate onion and place in wire sieve over a bowl. Using the back side of a spoon squeeze out excess juice from the onion. Combine drained onion, beef (and lamb if used) 2 cloves minced garlic, chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste (approximately ½-teaspoon salt, ¼-teaspoon black pepper), 1-tablespoon paprika, the cumin and an egg. Mix very well; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a scoop or teaspoon, shape meat mixture into 48 mini meatballs; place on baking sheet and bake 25 minutes or until cooked through and browned. TIP: As needed dip spoon or scoop in water (shake off excess water) to help shape the meatballs.
While meatballs are baking heat olive oil, over medium heat in a large skillet; add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add can of tomatoes and the red pepper flakes, bring to a simmer. Add cooked meatballs and simmer to blend flavors and reduce juice. Sprinkle with optional snipped parsley and serve with yogurt sauce.
Dumpling Version: The dough is a simple egg noodle - 1-cup flour, ½ to 1-teaspoon salt, 1-egg, 2 to 4 tablespoons water. Whisk together egg, salt and 2 tablespoons water; stir in flour until you can knead. Knead on a lightly flour surface until smooth. Cover dough and rest for 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface roll dough “very” thin. Cut into 1 ½-inch wide strips, then squares. Place ¼ to ½ teaspoon meat mixture on each square; fold sides into the center and seal. Drop in boiling water in batches; cook until dumplings float (8-10 minutes). Remove with slotted spoon. Reduce tomatoes (above); serve dumplings with tomato or chili oil and yogurt sauce.