These little meatballs, made from a mixture of minced lamb and rice, flavoured with thyme, lemon and nutmeg, are grilled on cocktail sticks with vegetables for easy eating. The classic Greek egg and lemon dipping sauce has a tangy flavour, which is a perfect partner for the meatball kebabs.
2 tbsp long-grain rice
2 small red onions
400g lean minced lamb
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, plus extra to garnish (optional)
½ tsp grated nutmeg
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 large red capsicum, deseeded and cut into 24 small squares
extra virgin olive oil for brushing
For the dip
1 ½ tsp arrowroot
juice of 2 small lemons
100 ml chicken stock
1 small egg
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
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Place the rice in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes or according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
Soak 24 long wooden cocktail sticks in warm water for about 10 minutes, then drain. Preheat the grill to moderate.
Cut each red onion into 12 thin wedges, keeping them attached at the root end so each wedge remains intact.
Combine the minced lamb, finely chopped onion, cooked rice, garlic, thyme, nutmeg and lemon zest in a bowl, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix together well using your hands. Shape the meat mixture into 24 small balls.
Thread a meatball, 1 red onion wedge and 1 piece of capsicum onto each cocktail stick. Arrange in one layer on the grill tray. Brush lightly with the oil, then grill for 15–18 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and thoroughly cooked.
Meanwhile, make the dip. Mix the arrowroot with about half of the lemon juice, then stir in the rest. Heat the stock in a small saucepan until boiling, then stir in the arrowroot and lemon juice mixture. Bring back to the boil, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat.
Put the egg in a bowl and whisk lightly. Slowly pour in the hot stock mixture in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly. Return to the pan and whisk over a low heat for about 4 minutes or until the sauce is smooth and thick. Do not boil or the egg may curdle and spoil the texture. Stir in the chopped thyme, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the kebabs with the hot lemon sauce, sprinkling with thyme, if you like. Allow two kebabs per person.
Some more ideas…
Use green or yellow capsicum instead of red, or replace it with wedges of fennel. * For a quick and easy lemon-mint dip, stir the grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint into 1 cup (260g) Greek-style yogurt. * The kebabs can be prepared 3–4 hours ahead and then kept in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.
Minced lamb can have quite a high fat content but, because these meatballs are grilled, much of the excess fat is drained off during the cooking process. * Making the meatballs with a mixture of lamb and rice means less meat is used than normal, and healthy starchy carbohydrates are added with the rice.
Each serving provides
GI estimate not able to be calculated because the carbohydrate content is minimal.
It's kind of fiddly having to prepare all the kebabs so I probably won't make this much. After doing the kebabs I got lazy and just served with lemon wedges instead of making the dip though I am certain the dip would be great with it. I skewered strips of roasted capsciums onto the kebabs too. - 24 Feb 2009