I was hesitant make to meatballs out of our ground elk (or antelope or deer) because we don’t add any fat to the meat we grind. This keeps the meat lean and true to its own flavor, but it also makes it less cohesive when forming patties. Fortunately, we found that forming meatballs didn’t pose any problems!
Growing up in South Dakota, Swedish-style meatballs were about the only type of meatballs we ever ate. And during the cold (sometimes absolutely frigid), dark, windy winters, we ate plenty of them, smothered in homemade gravy and poured over mashed potatoes. It warmed our bellies!
No complaints (about the meatballs…I hated the winters!), but my tastebuds and I have enjoyed trying other types. There are so many distinct and savory ways to flavor and cook meatballs!
This recipe comes from the slim little cookbook, Yogurt, by Sarina Jacobson. The whole cookbook is really neat with a variety of ways to use yogurt in your cooking. I made some tiny changes (basically just amping up the seasonings), but the recipe is delicious as is.
We ate these with some mashed potatoes and parsnips (I can’t get away from that!), but they would also be a great party appetizer (which we’ve done in the past).
- 1 pound ground elk meat
- ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 15 fresh mint leaves (or approximately 1 Tbsp), chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground cumin
- 1 slice of whole wheat bread, cut into tiny cubes
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 1 egg
- several grinds of black pepper
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
- 1.5 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 1 Tbsp coriander seeds, crushed or grind them
- 1.5 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ½ tsp olive oil
- 1 - 1½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the meatball ingredients until well combined.
- Form 1-2 inch meatballs and place on an olive-oil brushed (or sprayed) aluminum-lined (for easier cleanup) baking sheet.
- Cook in a 350 degree oven until meatballs are brown on all sides, which has always been about 20-25 minutes for me.
- While the meatballs are baking, prepare the yogurt sauce by placing all ingredients in a bowl and stir together.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve the meatballs warm with the sauce on the side or drizzled on top.