I played with this recipe for years before hitting on what I wanted it to be. Then, just as I thought it was perfect, I stumbled upon a variation I like just as well. Tonight I had to make a dish for a potluck, so these meatballs were my choice. But, I forgot to get some feta! Instead, I used pecorino ... and I love it! So, I guess it's an either / or choice that you can make. Instead of frying the meatballs, I bake them. Much easier and they turn out more tender. But if you prefer to fry, go for it. Enjoy them!
1 lb. ground lamb
1.5 lbs. ground beef (85/15 is good)
3 slices substantial white or wheat bread, crusts removed
Approx. 1/2 c. milk
1/4 lb. feta OR pecorino cheese, crumbled or shredded
1 c. kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/2 T. cinnamon
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Olive oil for pan
8 oz. plain yogurt, preferably Greek strained style
1/4 c. finely chopped Italian parsley
3 cloves roasted garlic
Soak the crustless bread slices in milk; gently squeeze them out and crumble them into a large bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix with your hands, gently but thoroughly. Don't over mix or the meatballs will be pasty. Heat the oven to 350 F. Oil a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Oil your hands and form the mixture into meatballs of a size a bit bigger than a golf ball. You should end up with about 36-40 meatballs. Place them on the cookie sheet in rows about a half inch apart.
Bake for 45 minutes until medium brown, but still tender. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a serving bowl. Meatballs can be served hot or at room temperature, with dipping sauce alongside.
For Dipping Sauce:
Mash roasted garlic cloves with the chopped parsley. Add yogurt and stir well to combine. Keep cold until ready to serve with meatballs.