Bored with chicken? Try this: Lamb meatballs with red or white wine

Pair spiced lamb meatballs with wine for a relaxing dinner at home. (James F. Quinn/Chicago Tribune/TNS)



Pair spiced lamb meatballs with wine for a relaxing dinner at home. (James F. Quinn/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

It’s all too easy to fall into a rut of chicken, fish, beef, repeat. Switch things up with a lamb dish anyone can make at home — simply mix ground lamb with a few spices, form into meatballs and fry in a skillet. Pair with a homemade sour cream-yogurt mixture and any of the three wines below; a high-acid white will cut the yogurt sauce nicely, while a strong red complements the gamey lamb.



In a bowl, stir together 1 small onion, minced; 1/2 cup minced parsley; 2 eggs, beaten; 1 teaspoon salt; and 1/2 teaspoon each pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Mix in 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb until blended. Form mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry meatballs in batches until golden brown and cooked through, 5 minutes. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from pan. Add 1 cup chicken broth. Heat to boil; cook to reduce slightly, 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup sour cream. Simmer 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup yogurt. Season with salt and pepper. Return meatballs to pan; simmer until hot, 1-2 minutes. Serve with warm pita and garnished with almonds and paprika. Makes: 6 servings

Recipe by Kristin Eddy


Pairings by sommelier Rachael Lowe of Spiaggia, as told to Michael Austin:

2012 Kofererhof riesling, Alto Adige, Valle Isarco, Italy: At 700 feet elevation, the focus at this vineyard is on high-acid whites. In this wine, aromas of peach, white flower, spice and lemon intermingle with a stony minerality and high acidity that will cut through the yogurt sauce. Also, the wine’s spice will nicely balance the cumin and cinnamon.

2013 Carol Shelton Monga Zin zinfandel, Cucamonga Valley, California: A pioneering woman in her field, Shelton, who studied at the University of California at Davis, makes zinfandels that are expressive, balanced and structured, with red fruit such as macerated red raspberries and cherries, and a touch of spice. The fleshy fruit character of this wine will stand up perfectly to the lamb, while the natural spice of the grape will mirror the spices in the mix beautifully.

2013 Anima Negra AN/2, Vi de la Terra Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain: Two self-taught locals founded this winery in 1994. This red wine is a blend of local varieties callet and monte negro, plus a touch of syrah. Aged in mixed barrels of French and (a smaller portion of) American oak, its flavors — dried strawberry, cassis, a hint of smoke, dried herbs and anise — will complement the parsley, cinnamon and gamey lamb.