Dishing Up the Dirt

Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Stewed Chickpeas

It got COLD here. I mean really cold! So cold that we had to dig out our winter hats just to stay warm outside this past weekend. However, it was a good excuse to rummage through or chest freezer and snag some tomato sauce to thaw out and make a cozy meal with ingredients from last season along with some fresh lamb from a neighbors farm and spring herbs. This meal was  just what the doctor ordered and satisfied that comfort food craving. With that being said, this isn’t a meal that needs to be served on a cold spring evening. It’s not too heavy which makes it easy to enjoy outside in the sunshine with a glass of wine. It comes together rather quickly (if you plan ahead and soak your chickpeas) and is a great way to use up any of last season’s jarred tomatoes to make room for all the future tomatoes coming soon! We actually played it really well with last season’s tomatoes and have exactly 5 jars left which I think will get us through until we’re able to jar up more for the fall, winter and early spring months next year. Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we do. It’s incredibly flavorful and uses a lot of ingredients you just might already have stashed in your cupboards or freezers.

Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm.

Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Stewed Chickpeas

Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 1.5 hours    Serves: 4-6

For the Stewed Chickpeas
  • 1/2 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 a yellow or red onion, cut into large chunks
  • hefty pinch of salt
  • 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup dried unsweetened cherries (or apricots)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • salt and pepper
For Serving
  • Cooked rice
  • Plain whole milk goat yogurt
  • minced parsley
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In a large stockpot combine the chickpeas, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, onion, and a big pinch of salt. Cover with at least 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain and active simmer, and cook until the chickpeas are tender. About 60-90 minutes (the time will depend on the freshness of your chickpeas) Drain the chickpeas and discard the solids.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat add the crushed tomatoes along with the red pepper flakes, cinnamon stick, dried cherries and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, add the cooked chickpeas and keep on a low simmer while you prepare your meatballs.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425F. And set a baking sheet to the side.
  4. In a large bowl combine the lamb, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and parsley and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix the meat up and incorporate the spices. Form the mixture into small meatballs (about 1 1/2 inch in diameter) and place on a baking sheet.  You should end up with about 12 meatballs. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and add the meatballs to the stewed chickpeas and give the mixture a light stir.
  5. To serve divide some cooked rice between plates and top with the stewed chickpeas and meatballs. Dollop with yogurt and sprinkle with minced parsley, crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.


Use this recipe as a guide. Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary

Leave a Reply

3 thoughts on “Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Stewed Chickpeas

  1. Cari Minor says:

    How’s the baby?

  2. Karey says:

    This looks like a nice recipe, but I’m more likely to use canned than dry chick peas. How many grams or cups of cooked chickpeas do you need? (A can here is 425g or about 1.5 cups.

    1. Andrea says:

      one can should be just fine! Enjoy!

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