Michael Voltaggio’s Lamb Merguez Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce, as seen on Guy’s Ranch Kitchen Season 6.
Recipe courtesy of Michael Voltaggio

Lamb Merguez Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Active: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


Merguez Meatballs:

Spicy Tomato Sauce:


Special equipment:
a deep-fryer
  1. For the merguez meatballs: Preheat a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Add the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds to a 3- to 4-quart saucepan set over medium-low heat. Toast the spices, shaking the pan frequently, until they are fragrant and beginning to change color, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the spices to a clean plate and let cool, then add them to a spice grinder and blend. Add the blended spices to a bowl with the hot paprika, sumac and cayenne and stir to combine. In a large bowl, add the ground lamb, spice blend, potato flakes, onion, yogurt, harissa, salt, garlic and egg. Combine gently with clean hands, using care to distribute all the flavorings evenly, but try to avoid pressing down or compacting the mixture. Lightly coat your hands with olive oil, then measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture with an ice cream scooper and roll it into a meatball. Set aside in a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  3. Brown the meatballs in batches in the deep-fryer until they are golden brown and hold their shape, 3 to 5 minutes. The meatballs will continue to cook in the tomato sauce, so this step is to give them color and additional flavor. Remove the meatballs to a baking dish and set aside.
  4. For the spicy tomato sauce: Coat the same saucepan with more olive oil and set over medium heat. Add the onions and stir with a wooden spoon to collect any browned bits caught on the surface of the skillet. Sweat until the onions are slightly softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, an additional few minutes. Add the harissa and tomato paste and toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the blended tomatoes and stir. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Cover the meatballs with the sauce and transfer to the oven. Roast until the meatballs are fully cooked through and caramelized from the sauce, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Add the yogurt, mint, parsley and lemon zest to a small bowl, then season with salt. Stir to combine and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  6. Place dollops of the seasoned yogurt and top with the meatballs. Garnish the meatballs with crumbled feta and fresh dill tops.