This is a sponsored post to help promote the European #LambTryItLoveIt campaign in conjunction with Bord Bia to highlight the benefits of cooking with European lamb. For more recipe inspiration, follow @TryLamb on Facebook and Instagram. All opinions, photos and the recipe itself are my own though.
Lamb has always been a part of my diet ever since I was a kid as my grandparents would often make lamb for us and my parents also have a few lamb recipes of their own. Whether it was lamb stew with potatoes and carrots, lamb chops or a burger, I always absolutely loved the flavour of European lamb! Since moving to Ireland I’ve been even more blown away as the quality of fresh locally-raised lamb is just beautiful. So I’m truly delighted to join up with Bord Bia to support the campaign for European Lamb this summer! When it comes to buying the best quality I always recommend going as close to the source as you possibly can, by either visiting your local farm directly or by going to a butcher that uses local lamb. This way, you’ll always know exactly where your food comes from. I’m lucky enough to have a few quality butchers near me, who all use European lamb, sourced from local farmers.
Despite the high-quality lamb available in Ireland and across Europe, it is often reserved for special occasions, whether that’s a roast shoulder joint with your Sunday roast or a traditional leg of lamb at Easter time. But thanks to the wide range of cuts available, lamb can easily be incorporated into your mid-week meal line-up to offer a bit more variety in your cooking repertoire, and I’m hoping that by sharing this easy but delicious recipe with you all, that you might be convinced to give delicious European lamb a try. Not only is it full of flavour, but it’s also high in minerals, proteins and vitamins that your body needs to stay healthy like Vitamin D & B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, iron and so on. Lamb is even described as a protein powerhouse The reason European lamb scores so high is because of the quality that comes from having grass-fed lamb, which we have plenty of in Ireland and across Europe.
Lamb is a very versatile product to cook with as well, I already have quite a few recipes up on my blog as it is, but in general you can use it in curries, as kebabs, as kofta, grill them on the barbecue or in the oven, make burgers or meatballs or just have a rack or chops. So many options! Today I’ve gone for an easy meatball and rice recipe, with some extra protein and fiber (chickpeas and peas) with some fresh mint leaves and feta cheese to finish it off.
Serves: 4 people
- 500g lamb mince
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 60g dried bread crumbs or Rice Krispies ground up
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 210g brown rice
- 400g chickpeas in water
- 200g garden peas
- 200g feta
- 1 cube of chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons of tomato purée
- 1 onion
- few twigs of fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Optional: honey
Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6
We’re going to start off with the rice so leave all the cold ingredients for the meatballs in the fridge for now. For the rice we’re going to take our grains, rinse them out under water, then add them to a pot of boiling water. Add a chicken stock cube and let the rice cook according to the instructions on the package (mine was 25 minutes). Now get your lamb mince, oregano, eggs, garlic powder, dill and bread crumbs to a large bowl and mix together with a fork, then continue by hand. Shape into balls, you should be able to make around 10-12 meatballs.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil in an oven tray and add the meatballs. Pop them in the oven at 200°/ Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes, flip them around half way through.
While both the rice and the meatballs are cooking, we can get started on the other rice ingredients. Slice up your onion into small pieces, drain both peas and chickpeas and crumb up the feta cheese.
Once the rice is done, drain it and add some butter to the pot you were using before. Add onion, let it fry for a minute then add chickpeas and peas. Let it cook for 3 minutes, then add the rice again. Stir in the tomato paste, add the meatballs and you are good to go!
All that’s left now is to add some shredded fresh mint on top (I used about 4 twigs in total) and add the feta cheese as well. You can add a few drizzles of honey and olive oil on the meatballs in the end as well if you would like a bit of sweetness. Enjoy!