Crowd-pleasing lamb meatballs with tomato and chilli butter sauce

Kitchen Cabinet: Sham Hanifa of the Cottage in Carrick-on-Shannon shares a favourite recipe

Castlemine Farm, in the heart of Roscommon, has been farmed by the Allen family since the 1820s. The farm has since been passed down through the generations and is now run by Derek and Brendan Allen. They produce pasture-fed dry-aged beef, lamb and rare breed pork, reared and butchered with a traditional sustainable approach.

The Allens have taken ownership of their entire distribution and retail operations and take pride in knowing that every single animal raised on the farm is butchered by their team of skilled butchers.

Sham Hanifa is chef/proprietor at The Cottage restaurant, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

Castlemine lamb meatballs with tomato and chilli butter sauce

Serves 4



For the meatballs:
500g minced Castlemine lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 handfuls chopped coriander
2 tbsp chopped mint
A pinch of salt and black pepper
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges

For the yogurt dressing:
Juice of 1 lime
400ml natural yoghurt
A handful chopped mint
Salt and pepper

For the tomato, chilli and butter sauce:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cloves garlic
1 chopped shallot
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp tomato puree
5 tomatoes (roughly chopped)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
200ml chicken stock
20g butter


1 Mix the minced lamb in a large bowl with the onion, garlic, spices, mint, and coriander. Season well with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into round meatball shapes.

2 Add the rapeseed oil to a large frying pan. Fry the meatballs on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until they are brown on both sides. Alternatively, sear the meatballs quickly in a very hot, ovenproof pan and transfer to the oven (preheated to 200C/gas 7) for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and leave to rest for a few minutes.

3 For the tomato, chilli and butter sauce: Add the oil to a non-stick pan and fry the shallots for a few minutes until softened and translucent. Then add the chopped garlic to soften. Add the chilli powder and cumin seed to the onion mixture and stir to coat. Fry the spices off gently for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and stir for few minutes.

4 Pour in the chicken stock, bring it to the boil and season with salt and sugar. Add in the butter, stir it well and let the sauce simmer.

5 For the yoghurt dressing: Mix all the ingredients together.

6 To serve: Arrange the meatballs on the tomato, chilli and cumin butter sauce. Drizzle with the minted yoghurt and serve with lemon wedges.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes for Food Month at The Irish Times from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland, in support of Ireland’s food producers. #ChefsMeetProducers