Lamb Kofte (Meatballs) with Harissa Recipe


Read more about the sustainability of ground meat here.

Adapted from Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking by Paula Wolfert.


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup day-old bread crumbs, medium to fine crumb
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lamb fat or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Fresh or dried oregano, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons harissa
  • To garnish


  1. Knead the ground lamb with the chili pepper flakes, cumin, bread crumbs, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Knead for a few minutes, until the mixture is smooth and more paste-like. Divide into 8 ovals about 2 1/2 inches long and 1 inch thick.

  2. On a wooden surface or between your palms, gently roll the ovals around until you can feel a thin skin develop over the surface, about 1 to 2 minutes per oval. Set aside.

  3. Heat the fat or oil in a shallow clay pot or another type of heavy pot, such as enameled cast iron. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Place the kofte ovals in a single layer on top of the onion. Add 1/3 cup water, cover the pot with foil, and cook over low heat with disturbing for 20 minutes.

  4. Carefully turn over each kofte. Scatter the canned diced tomatoes between them, partially cover with a lid or foil, and cook for 10 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, mix the harissa with the oregano and few tablespoons of water. Sprinkle over the koftes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the grated cheese and more black pepper on top. Serve immediately.

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