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Lamb Meatballs with Lemon and Olives

Spicy meatballs with olives in a tangy sauce.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Moroccan
Servings: 4


For the meatballs:

  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup parsley finely chopped
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 2 tsp cumin ground
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon ground
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp coriander ground
  • 500 g minced lamb
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp ginger fresh and grated
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin ground
  • 2 cups lamb stock
  • 1 cup kalamata olives pitted
  • 1 lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil


  • In a large bowl mix all the ingredients for the meatballs together with your hands.
  • Form 1 inch / 2,5 cm sized meatballs and set them aside.
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and cook the onion in it, until it’s soft and translucent, ca. 5 minutes.
  • Carefully add the meatballs to the pan and cook them around 5-10 minutes until they are slightly brown on all sides. 
  • Add all the spices and the tomato puree and fry for another minute.
  • Finally add the lamb stock, the olives and the lemon juice to the pan. 
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes on low heat or until the sauce has sufficiently thickened.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with flatbread and couscous.


This recipe highly depends on the quality of lamb stock you're using. Lamb stock is hard come by in our supermarkets, so I tend to make my own. I get lamb bones from the turkish supermarket or directly from the lamb farmer. I then coat them thinly in tomato puree, dust them with flour and then roast them in the oven, until they are heavily browned and very fragrant. Then I dump them in my slow cooker together with carrots, celery, onions and bay leaves and let it simmer for 12 hours. The outcome is a very rich lamb stock, that makes every sauce shine.