Tags: Dried Cherries

Insomniacs Meatballs

When I have trouble falling asleep, which is more often than I’d like, I  imagine myself cooking.  This may seem strange, but to me, it’s a gentle mediation that eases every bit of stress from the previous 14 hours.  On a good night I won’t make it past the chopping of garlic, but sometimes elaborate meals are prepared quietly inside my imagination before I am lulled away to sleep.  Two particularly restless nights ago I ran through a list of possible recipes that might assist me off to dreamland when I remembered the organic ground lamb we had in the fridge.  I felt like a wizard summoning the herbs and spices that I thought would be a good fit for my lamb.  In my pretend kitchen there is no ingredient missing, no shortage of clean knives, and the cooking time is cut in half! It’s no wonder this little technique relaxes me so.

The next morning I remembered the actual lamb in my actual fridge and quickly began to rummage the cabinets looking for all those seasonings I had easily on hand the night before.  It seems that this nights cooking meditation proved especially fruitful as I had created my next recipe, all in all a very productive night for an insomniac.


For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground organic lamb
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon dried dill
4 fresh mint leaves chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup toasted pignola nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dried cherries- reconstituted with warm water for 15 minutes
1 cup grated ricotta salata cheese (if you can’t find ricotta salta you can sub 3/4 cup feta)
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oven to 375 degrees and gently grease two baking sheets with olive oil.

In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients save the lamb and pulse into a thin paste.  If too thick you may add a bit of water, olive oil or both.  Using your CLEAN fingers combine the paste into the ground lamb until well incorporated.

Roll into small meatballs ( a little bigger than a golf ball) and place on the baking sheets.  Bake for twenty five to thirty minutes at 375 degrees.

For the yogurt Sauce:

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (I used 2 %)

1 handful  fresh dill

1 handful fresh cilantro

5 fresh mint leaves

2 tabelspoons lemon juice

1 clove mashed garlic

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

splash red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until well blended.  Serve alongside, or on top of the meatballs.