Sometimes you just need a little comfort in your life. For me, this is 98% of the time. The other 2% is reserved for the occasional salad. ;) In all seriousness though, we all crave comfort food once in a while, and these slow cooker Greek meatballs with couscous are just pure comfort in a bowl. The term “slow cooker” should pretty much make you aware that something comforting is a-coming, at least that’s what I associate it with. With a hint of cinnamon and a ton of bold flavor, these meatballs will be sure to warm up your insides on a cold and snowy day.
I’m all about my slow cooker and this isn’t just limited to the cooler times of year. I use that thing all year long. I’m all about easy recipes and quick clean up. That’s just what my slow cooker provides. The sad thing is that my slow cooker is on it’s last leg. I’m pretty sure the heating mechanism in the thing is totally broken. It doesn’t matter if I set it on high for 4 hours or low for 10 hours. That things cooks at the same temperature no matter what I set it on (and that temperature is high…I mean so high that it burns my food if I don’t keep a close eye). It has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out how long to cook things in that dinosaur.
I know what you are thinking. This totally takes the fun and ease out of using a slow cooker. You shouldn’t have to worry about it catching on fire and burning the house down.
You also may be thinking…why in the name of God, Justine, have you not gotten yourself a new one? I mean it’s not like they cost a fortune! These are the battles I fight with myself everyday. Trust me.
Truth is, however, that I have been waiting for the right slow cooker to come along. I want one that I can sear meat in, so I can skip the step where I have to sear in a separate pan. Zach and I finally came across one we liked, and guess what, we found it on QVC! How about them apples!? It hasn’t arrived yet and Zach’s mom was generous enough to order it for us.
Let the anticipation continue! I can hardly contain my excitement!
Do you understand now how obsessed I am with this thing! Woo!
Now, let’s get back to these slow cooker Greek meatballs. The meatballs themselves are loaded with warm and inviting flavors: oregano, cheese, mint, cinnamon and more. The sauce itself I kept simple. Sure, I could have made a homemade marinara, but I was all about saving some time. I used my favorite store-bought marinara. There are some really good ones out there, guys. Don’t be ashamed. I spiced that marinara up with some cinnamon and cayenne. The meatball and sauce together?! Oh my.
Lay these babies on a bed of couscous and you have yourself an easy, quick weeknight meal. Or just eat them with your fingers, straight out of the slow cooker. I may have done this…
Only once though … or maybe like twice … whose keeping track really?
- 1 pound ground lamb ground beef may be substituted
- 1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup asiago cheese finely grated
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 2 tablespoons dry mint
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper divided
- 3 cups marinara sauce store-bought or homemade
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked couscous cooked per manufacturer's instructions
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb, both bread crumbs, asiago cheese, egg, parsley, olive oil, oregano, mint, cumin, 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne. Mix the ingredients together with a large spoon or your hands until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Shape the meat into 1 tablespoon-sized balls and set aside.
- Heat 2 additional tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven or saute pan over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. You may need to do this in batches, depending on how large your pan is. Remove the meatballs from heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinara, remaining 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, remaing 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne, chicken stock and a dash of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Transfer the meatballs to a slow cooker and lay them out evenly along the bottom. Pour the marinara sauce over top and add the cinnamon sticks. Cover. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
- Remove the meatballs from heat and serve on top of a bed of couscous. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and enjoy!