Make-Ahead, Freeze-Ahead Recipe: Spiced Lamb Meatballs

Meatballs! At big dinner parties and potlucks, meatballs seem to cause a stampede like nothing else. They're crowd-friendly, kid-friendly — and so convenient. Many of you ask frequently about meals to make ahead and freeze, and honestly, meatballs are at the top of my list. These meatballs are my all-time favorite: Warmly spiced with garam masala, fragrant with onion, ginger, and garlic, and so tender and juicy.
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These are also my ultimate make-ahead meal. This recipe makes quite a few — more than my household of two can eat at once (although believe me, my husband would like to try!) — and it's such a good opportunity to stash another meal away in the freezer.

For maximum convenience, I like to freeze these after they have already been baked. But you can also freeze the raw meat mixture.

They are not just a freeze-ahead meal, though; the meat mixture actually benefits from sitting in the fridge overnight. You can make it the day before and then throw the meatballs in the oven right after you get home from work. With all those spices, onion, and ginger, they really have wonderful flavor. They're not too spicy, though — they are Indian-spiced meatballs for those who like the fragrance but not the heat.

A last tip: for a little extra kick, make these into kabobs! Slide them on bamboo skewers and grill until smoky and charred. Yum!

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Spiced Lamb Meatballs
makes 30 to 40 generously-sized meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 small onions, finely grated
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeld and finely grated
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons ground almonds
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour

Mix together the beef and lamb until they are well combined. Using your hands or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, stir in the onion, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, chile powder, garam masala, cilantro, almonds, eggs, and flour.

Heat the oven to 450°F. Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of the meat mixture and roll into evenly-shaped meatballs. Roast the meatballs for 20 minutes or until just barely pink in the middle.

Eat with rice, yogurt, and a chopped cucumber salad.

On freezing & refrigerating:
• Meatball mixture can be made up to 12 hours in advance and refrigerated.
• Meatball mixture can be frozen, uncooked, for 3 months.
• To freeze the cooked meatballs, place them on a large baking tray and freeze them for 2 hours or until solid. Then remove them and put them in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven until warmed through, turning the oven up to broil at the end for 5 minutes to re-crisp the edges.

More Meatballs from The Kitchn

Pictured above, left to right:
Meatball Lasagna
Pork Meatballs with Lemon and Thyme
Turkey Meatballs over Greens

(Images: Faith Durand)

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