Mustard does something magical to lamb. Slather it on a leg of lamb before roasting and it forms a beautiful crust. Add some to a shepherd’s pie and it will marry the flavours of all the seasonings. Dollop a tablespoonful into a meatball mixture and it will add tenderness along with flavour. I enjoy the pairing so much that I sometimes forget that there are other flavours that can complement lamb. I suppose it’s not surprising that when Maille Canada kindly sent me a sample of their famous Honey Dijon mustard, I started making plans for the ground lamb in my freezer.
Maille’s Honey Dijon is already a favourite of mine, but their squeeze bottle packaging was new to me. It’s meant for outdoor eating, so I wanted to make something that would showcase the flavour of the mustard, but would also translate easily to the barbecue.
Our weather has been a little spotty of late, so I roasted these meatballs in the oven. But, they will roast just as beautifully in a grill pan on the barbecue. I make my meatballs with rice, which means I don’t have to exclude gluten-free eaters. You could easily replace the rice with another grain or quinoa. I cooked the rice in a tomato-rich vegetable broth, but you could use chicken broth, lamb broth, or plain water, instead.
These meatballs get their tenderness from the mustard and a bit of yogurt, with a tiny bit of extra piquancy from some finely diced cornichon (a trick I picked up from Dorie Greenspan). They’re great on their own, or with a bit of tomato sauce. They’re lovely in soup and I suspect they’d elevate a meatball sandwich, especially if you served them on a baguette with cultured butter and a generous slathering of honey Dijon.
Honey Dijon Lamb Meatballs
Makes 15-20 meatballs
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1/2 cup cooked basmati rice
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp plain French-style yogurt
- 1 tbsp Maille Honey Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cornichon, finely diced
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
- zest of 1/4 lemon, grated
- 1/2 tsp salt
- a good grinding of black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Or, use a grill pan and cook on the barbecue with the lid closed.
In a large bowl, gently but thoroughly mix all ingredients. Shape into balls of 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture and place on lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until nicely browned and cooked through. (If you’re using a meat thermometer, cook to 160°F.)
Serve immediately. Leftovers can be gently reheated in broth or tomato sauce, or added to soup. Or, place them on a tray and freeze them, then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. They’ll keep for 3-6 months.
Maille sent me two squeeze bottles of their Honey Dijon mustard. I’ve been working my way through one of the bottles, using it for sandwiches, salad dressings, and marinades. And now that summer’s about to begin in earnest, I’m glad to have a container of gourmet mustard that’s picnic-safe. The other bottle was sent home with my mother. My parents grill all summer long and they were eager to add it to their condiment arsenal.
I think this packaging is going to be a hit. People are seeking out higher quality sausages and cured meats for their al fresco meals these days. It makes sense that they’d want to elevate their condiment selection, too. Maille is certainly confident that’s the case – beginning this month, you’ll be able to find their honey Dijon in supermarkets, as well as gourmet stores. Barbecue culture is growing up.
I received two bottles of Maille’s Honey Dijon Mustard from Maille Canada, but received no other consideration. All opinions are my own.