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Albondigas - (Andalucian Lamb Meatballs)

2 pounds ground lamb
1/2 medium onion -- finely minced
2 garlic cloves -- finely minced
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro -- divided
1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds -- finely ground using a spice mill
1 egg
salt -- to taste
freshly-ground black pepper -- to taste
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
1/2 cup flour
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large spanish onion -- chopped 1/8" dice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tablespoon fresh mint chiffonade


In a mixing bowl, stir together lamb, onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons cilantro, cumin, egg, salt and pepper and thyme and mix well. Form into 1-inch balls, dust with flour and refrigerate 10 minutes.


Heat oil in a 12- to 14-inch frying pan until just smoking. Add meatballs and cook until golden brown all over, or about 7 to 10 minutes, and remove. Add Spanish onion and cook until golden brown and soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Return meatballs to pan and lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook 30 minutes.


Place almonds, saffron, garlic, mint and remaining cilantro into a spice mill and process to a fine powder. Stir into stock and serve immediately.


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