Lamb, Oregano and Fennel Seed Meatballs

, from Issue #97. May, 2021
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Lamb, Oregano and Fennel Seed Meatballs

These light and tasty meatballs are fragrant with oregano and fennel seeds, bathed in a rich tomato sauce and topped with molten mozzarella. Autumn fare done and dusted. 

Serves: 4-6


1 cup panko breadcrumbs 3 tablespoons milk or water
1 large egg
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon each sea salt and fennel seeds
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
finely grated zest 1 lemon
600 grams lamb sausages, skins removed

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
sea salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 x 400-gram tins crushed Italian tomatoes

oil 1 ball fresh mozzarella in whey, drained
parmesan for grating
oregano leaves, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.

Sauce: Heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan and cook the onion and garlic with a good pinch of salt until soft. Stir in the tomato paste and brown sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside.

Meatballs: Stir the breadcrumbs with all the remaining ingredients, except the sausage meat, in a large bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Add the sausage meat and mix until fully combined. Hands are good for this. Form into large meatballs.

To cook: Heat a little oil in a sauté pan and brown the meatballs all over. Nestle the meatballs into the tomato sauce. Cover with a piece of baking paper then foil to seal tightly. Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover then dot over the mozzarella and grate over a generous amount of parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Scatter with oregano leaves before serving.