Lamb Meatballs with Cranberries
- 2 lbs ground lamb
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped and loosely packed
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¾ tsp ground allspice
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 Tbsp dried cranberries (the original called for barberries, and sour cherries would work as well)
- 1 egg (large or XL)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ lb large shallots, peeled
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 tsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
- 5 oz dried figs
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (or labna)
- 3 – 4 Tbsp mixed herbs, mint, cilantro, dill, and tarragon coarsely torn
- fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the lamb, onions, parsley, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, barberries, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Mix with your hands, then roll into balls about the size of golf balls.
- Heat one-third of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot for which you have a tight-fitting lid. Put in a few meatballs at a time and cook and turn them around for a few minutes until they color all over. Remove from the pot and set aside. Cook the remaining meatballs the same way.
- Wipe the pot clean and add the remaining oil. Add the shallots and cook them over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
- Add the wine, leave to bubble for a moment or two, then add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, sugar, and some salt and pepper.
- Arrange the figs and meatballs among and on top of the shallots; the meatballs need to be almost covered in the liquid. Bring to a boil, cover with the lid, decrease the heat to very low, and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and simmer for about another hour, until the sauce has reduced and intensified in flavor. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Transfer to a large, deep serving dish. Whisk the yogurt, pour on top, and scatter with herbs.