Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Harissa and Coriander Pesto

Richard Beichner

Skytop Lodge, Skytop, PA

For these Moroccan-inspired meatballs, Richard Beichner uses Rocky Mountain lamb raised locally in Colorado. He serves it with saffron couscous and presents it in a mini tagine.


6 servings


  • Harissa:
  • 10 dried ancho peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cilantro Pesto:
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Lamb Meatballs:
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Make the harissa: in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the ancho chili peppers until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of hot water and soak for 1 hour. Drain and discard the water. Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. In a blender or food processor, purée the chilies with the garlic, olive oil, coriander, caraway, cumin, and salt until very smooth. Reserve.

Make the cilantro pesto: combine the cilantro, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and salt in a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. Reserve.

Make the meatballs: preheat the oven to 350ºF. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until soft but not browned, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the sautéed vegetables with the remaining meatball ingredients. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Serve warm, topped with the cilantro pesto and harissa.