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Persian lamb meatballs


Who does not love homemade meatballs?  These meatballs have a little added extra though: they simmer for over an hour in tomato sauce allowing all the flavours and juices to blend.  They are also made out of lamb, lentils and rice so they are a meal onto themselves.  With a little added greens salad, possibly.










Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 150g / 1 cup basmati rice
  • 100g / 2/3 cup green lentils or yellow split peas
  • 500g / 1 lb quality lamb mince
  • handful fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • handful fresh dill, finely chopped.
  • handful fresh chives, snipped
  • handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 large onions, 1 finely chopped, 1 sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 handfuls fresh or dried cranberries
  • 3 medium free range eggs
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g / 1 regular tin chopped tomatoes


1. Fill a large saucepan with 1 L (4 cups) water and put over a medium-high heat until boiling.  Season with a sprinkling of salt and add the rice.  Boil for 7 minutes, drain and set aside to cool.  Repeat the process with the lentils in 1.5 L (6 cups) water: bring to the boil, add the lentils, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 25 minutes.  Drain and set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cooled rice and lentils, minced lamb, herbs, flour, 2 tsp of the turmeric, 1 finely chopped onion, cranberries, eggs and a season with pepper and salt.  Mix well.  Shape the mixture (it should be relatively sticky) into about 12 tennis ball-shaped meatballs.

3. Add the olive oil to a pan and fry the thinly sliced onion rings over a medium-low heat for about 8 minutes or until they start to brown slightly.  Add the remaining 1 tsp turmeric and the garlic and fry for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomato puree and mix well.  

4. Pour in 1 L (4 cups) of water into the pan.  Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil.  One by one, add each meatball carefully into the pan and let simmer over a low heat for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours.  Only partially cover the pan with the lid.

5. Serve sprinkled with fresh herbs and a side salad.


Recipe by Sabrina Ghayour in Delicious Magazine (March 2015).

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