“What do you want for dinner, John?”
“Oh, I don’t mind, anything will be fine.”
“How about lamb meatballs over couscous.”
“Uhhh, do we have to?”
“You don’t have to eat it but I’m making it for me.”
“Okay, that’s fine, I’ll eat it. I’m not fond of meatballs OR couscous.”
Wouldn’t that reaction get you racing to the kitchen? I just knew these lamb meatballs were going to be good and they were the bomb. Seriously. He cleaned his plate and said, “You know, that couscous was pretty good too.”
Sometimes you just want to give ’em a whack.
The only trick with meatballs is not overcooking them to the point where they’re like golf balls since they don’t sit in a puddle of sauce. I’d make these again in a heartbeat.
I made the couscous by putting dried fruit in chicken stock and bringing it to the boil and then pouring it over the couscous. I found that if I used a shallow dish or pan to make couscous, it turns out really fluffy. I used to make it in a large measuring cup and it often ended up gluggy and gross.
The verdict? He doesn’t hate meatballs or couscous, in fact, he quite likes them when they’re done like this.
- 2 slices white bread, crusts trimmed
- Milk, for soaking
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley (divided in two)
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons grated onion
- 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced, plus 2 tsp zest
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and pepper
- 1½ teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup sultanas or raisins
- ¼ cup Turkish apricots, chopped
- ¼ cup dates, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- olive oil
- ½ cup tzatziki sauce (picked mine up at the deli)
- Preheat the oven to 210C/425F.
- Soak the bread in the milk.
- Add the lamb and the egg to a large mixing bowl.
- Wring out the excess milk from the soaked bread and crumble it into the lamb.
- Stir in half the parsley, the mint, onion, garlic, lemon zest, marjoram, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and mix together.
- Using an ice cream scoop, make about 20 meatballs (my scoop turned out 17) and place on a nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake until browned, 15 to 18 minutes.
- In a small saucepan add the chicken stock and the dried fruit and bring to the boil add salt.
- In a low casserole dish spread out the couscous and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
- When the stock and fruit have just come to a boil, pour over couscous.
- Stir well to incorporate the fruit and cover the disk with cling film/plastic wrap.
- In 3-5 minutes, fluff with a fork.
- Place couscous on a platter and place meatballs on top.
- Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
I love your exchanges with John! To me, they take your blog beyond recipes, to that area of nurturing, sharing the love…
and the meatballs are awesome!
He’s a funny man and he never has an unkind word about anyone… even me. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of arguments we’ve had in nearly 20 years together. I chalk that up to my being incredibly understanding. 🙂 LOL
This sounds amazing! No wonder you won him over. 🙂
To be honest, he’s pretty easy. 🙂
Any leftovers? I love that you put mint in your meatballs, Maureen. I can see why this meal was so delicious. Great tips on the fruity couscous too. Thank you so much for sharing…
It was a meal worth saving.
I love dried fruit in couscous! It’s become practically the only way I serve it (which isn’t all that often, I must admit). And I love lamb meatballs! This is absolutely a dish I could have made. 😉 Which is why, of course, it’s good stuff! 😀 Thanks for this.
I love it when someone says my dish is something they’d have made themselves. Food really connects people, I reckon.
John is so cute. At least he says he’ll try it. It’s more frustrating when they won’t tell you WHAT they want to eat when you ask them. My mom liked almost everything I served her unlike my dad who liked almost NOTHING I served him.
My meatballs are edible but that’s about as much as I can say about them even when paired with a good marinara sauce. I’ve been tempted by a combined bbq sauce and jellied cranberry (there’s been a can in my pantry for ages) lately. My couscous IS getting better however especially when I add dried cranberries to the steaming broth for the couscous and toss in sliced toasted almonds at the end. 🙂
I love the addition of almonds. Next time!
Did you ever see my lamb skewers post in which I served them with the couscous?
Shema | LifeScoops says
I love lamb… This looks and sounds delicious!
I hope you try it!
Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says
Hmmmm – that conversation could well have taken place in my kitchen, Maureen. Still, a clean plate speaks louder than words doesn’t it. Good tip on avoiding soggy couscous. Loving the addition of the dried fruit.
I often add dried fruit but this is the first time I used homemade chicken stock and I’ll never go back to plain couscous I don’t think.
Darn! Missed dinner again. Can you please give me an earlier and advance notice so I can hop a plane and be there in time for dinner.
Let me check my menu plan and let you know. 🙂
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
Oh you won him over with your expert kitchen recipes! It looks pretty amazing to me and honestly I would be so thrilled if anybody would cook for me – I would just eat it. Yum! Have a lovely weekend.
LOL I know what you mean, Tricia. We have friends who invite us for meals but we have no family here. I wish we did.
Marie @citronlimette says
Love lamb. Looks fantastic. Like the dried fruits in the couscous.
It was pretty good, Marie. Everyone left the table full.
Choc Chip Uru says
Fruity couscous is a great idea? I bet the sweetness really sets off the wonderful lamb taste 😀
P.S And in reply to your message, yes I have been super hectic, but I start baking today and hopefully my new blog will soon be completely ready, but I will be posting regardless – I am so sorry for the wait!
No worries, sweet one. I was just worried about you so I let you know. Anytime you need help, you’ve got heaps of friends who’ve got your back.
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Yup! I know that feeling…. Peter and I have very different opinions on what we should have for the evening meal quite regularly. I get to win lately because I’ve been unwell… or I compromise by saying I’ll make XXXX tomorrow. And then he gives in. LOL. Your meatballs with couscous sound yummy. Do you deliver?
For you, I’d deliver. 🙂 I’ll have to put the Engel in the car so it won’t spoil. 🙂 We rarely compromise. If we can’t agree we make two meals. 🙂
Hotly Spiced says
Now this looks like my kind of meal, Maureen. I love lamb meatballs! And I like the sound of the way you cooked your couscous. Interesting how John was so negative about it yet he came around! That happens here a lot too! xx
I think men like mine grew up or lived with women who cooked but differently so they have food baggage. Getting them to try is step one. 🙂
Oh, I bet these were great paired with the couscous!
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
He sounds like Will! I’m still trying to get him to eat couscous because I love it. That’s a good tip on the dish. The last time I made it I did it in a big bowl and it was perfect but I’ve had varying results in the jug.
I learned how to make couscous in a pan by David Bitton, the Sydney chef that started Bitton Gourmet products. He said, “Want it gluggy? Make it in a jug.” LOL
Absolutely fabulous recipes. Tho’ eat couscous often and have added fruit have never made it by this method which will be tried out for lunch tomorrow: recipe already pinned to the kitchen board 🙂 ! Made turkey patty mix for today: half left to match with the couscous! By the bye have not used breadcrumbs awhile – accidental find in a hurry: did not have time to make breadcrumbs, grabbed a sachet of Uncle Toby’s ‘Multigrain’ quick porridge [includes oats, barley, wheat, rye and buckwheat], just tossed it in dry – did put it in the fridge for 1/2 hour before grilling ~ could not believe how soft and juicy the patties were. Have repeated with different meats 4-5 times now: perfect: not that I know why 🙂 !
Joanne T Ferguson says
G’day and YUM Maureen, I’d love to have some please, true!
I think we all can relate to the “What would you like for brekkie, lunch or dinner?” with the reply….”Whatever you make will be fine by me…”; sometimes drives me insane too! lol
John always has ideas if I ask him. He might not like leftovers or some American things I cook but if you ask him a question, he always has an opinion. 🙂
Cass @foodmyfriend says
Men should really just try being grateful.. and then offering to wash the dishes and give you a massage. Lovely looking dinner 😉 I get the same reaction at our place. Vegetarian – you know!
LOL He’s a sweetie and will do anything I ask of him so I don’t sweat the small stuff. “Will you move my friend’s blog to a new webhost please?” ”
He did eat it. 🙂 Just not without lip!
LOL…it sounds good to me!!! Glad John was willing to give this a try…and that doesn’t always happen around here 🙂
He’s good about trying it. However, tonight I made a mushroom, asparagus and cheese frittata and served it with beet chutney. He made himself a bowl of soup. His father ate the entire frittata. Mine was the same size and I ate 1/4 of the pan.
…so much like children 😉 I am pleased he liked the dish even though he is not fond of either 😉
I love my cous cous with fruit in it!! DELICIOUS!
Great story 🙂
yeah, he’s a wonderful man and kind all the way to his soul. I forgive him for only wanting to eat what he likes. 🙂
Normally, I don’t like meatballs much either but I think it’s because I always overcook them! I’m going to give these lamb meatballs a try!
I hope you like them, Monet! Lovely to see you.
Oh Maureen…these look delicious! I can just tell from your picture, that they are moist. (most any meatball I’ve attempted have been golf balls!) And what a great tip about making the couscous in a shallow dish. Love the fruit in chicken stock too! I don’t know what’s not to love on this plate! : )
Thanks, Anne, I’d make this again!
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
Don’t you love those sorts of dinner conversations?! Thank goodness you went ahead with this, as it sounds lovely. I really like couscous with dried fruit in it and will try out your spin – and tip for using a shallow pan/dish! – next time 🙂
The Café Sucre Farine says
Next time you get that reaction, just say “It’s okay, I have someone else who would love to come to dinner and eat this”. All the way from NC, USA! This looks FANTASTIC to me, wow, what a fun dinner!
LOL He always says he eats everything but he’s far pickier than I am. 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
LOL I’ve had that conversation with Mr NQN a few times when I ask him what he wants. So now I usually just bypass it and just make it and he’ll eat it and I don’t have to hear that he doesn’t like it. Funny boys 😛
At about 3 o’clock comes the conversation about what’s on the menu. Since we’re together 24-7 it’s tough to avoid the subject. Maybe one of us should get a job outside the house. 🙂
Sue/the view from great island says
I am a meatball freak and so will add these to my growing collection of must try recipes! I love the fruity couscous, too!
Hi Sue, I love meatballs too but John – not so much (or at all), but these ended up on the table and we were all happy.
Dear Maureen, I don’t think anyone could EVER hate anything you make. It all looks so appetizing.
I love lamb though my son and daughter are not fond of it. I would love these meatballs and the couscous. I really should just make it again and let them try it out again. I think I will.
Blessings dear and a hug, Catherine xo
Oh Catherine, you’d be surprised some of the things I come up with that never make it to the blog. 🙂 I’ve heard, “Not a winner, dear,” on a couple of occasions.
David Crichton says
I get the exactly the same reactions at home too, Maureen. My wife has learnt I’m usually right when it comes to picking a menu. I make my couscous just like you, chicken stock being the key. Do you have any other suggestions to make it edible?
LOL only making it in a shallow pan or dish so it’s guaranteed to be fluffy 🙂
I’m sitting here getting ready to make dinner, and I see your luscious lamb meatballs with that lovely couscous…I am drooling! I love lamb and your dish looks terrific!
Hi Kathy, thanks for coming by. The lamb meatballs really hit the spot that night. 🙂
Ken would love this. Lamb is one of his favorites…but can you believe this…I’ve never ever cooked it! Yikes. think maybe it’s time.
Many Americans don’t cook lamb because historically it’s been so expensive to buy that folks like me couldn’t afford to experiment. Unless you came from a tradition of eating lamb, most of us didn’t touch it. Growing up in Maine, I don’t think I knew anyone who cooked it except the Lebanese community in the city across the river. 🙂
InTolerant Chef says
Oh he sounds just like my kids Maureen! 🙂
I am not a lamb person, but I think I could try this, and could be that like John I would love it too! But you got to say, John is cute too, just like his dad.
LOL sometimes he’s cute. Sometimes he’s a man. 🙂
Iron Chef Shellie says
I’m glad you persisted in making both items despite the overwhelming reaction you got 😛 I’d face plant this in an instant!
LOL I’m glad you approve 🙂
Helene D'Souza says
I always feel the same way with the boys…
They all think Couscous is women’s food. lol
Anyway, I would make this ina heartbeat but I will have to practice with the lamb meat cooking. Not much experience with lamb. =)
In the same way that men don’t eat quiche? I think it’s ridiculous. 🙂 It’s tough to tell it’s lamb once it’s minced, Helene. LOL
Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl says
I love your whack comment and I totally understand what you mean. They have to trust you, and then they will fall in love. This dish looks amazing!
I don’t get too upset. We’ve been together for nearly 20 years and I’m pretty used to his antics. 🙂
This is definitely going on my menu this week! My kind of meal 🙂
Aww, that’s good to hear, Monique. 🙂
Our hubbies must be twins Maureen! Love the sound of this recipe as I don’t like dried out meat either and like mine still on the pink side. P.S. In September we were broken into while we slept in our beds and my computer along with 8 months of recipes and photos that were waiting in the wings for the unveiling of my new improved blog have all gone. The new blog (with subscription ability) is finally up and running as of yesterday, so now I will just have to start all over again with the recipes and pictures. Think of all those lovely dished I will just have to eat…..there goes the diet again! 🙂
Oh no !! What an awful story. I hope you are backing up your home computer on a cloud somewhere now? We back up our home computers every night on a cloud server. It’s not expensive and no matter what happens, disk crash, break in, storm… we’re still in business.
Raymund Macaalay says
Love that you made your couscous fruity, that would suit well with the lamb
It was yummy, Ray!
I was wondering how I had not seen this post before. What a great way of serving lamb to the non-lamb lover; I know a few of them.
yeah, it’s still lamb but in mince and with those wonderful spiced, everyone will eat it. 🙂
LOL! John sounds like my hubby. They should never question us… just show up and eat. 🙂 I bet this meal was spectacular and I’d certainly clean my plate. 🙂
Made these today, they were amazing! I used ground mutton.