Recipe By Lynfred Brand Ambassador Laura Lorenz
Makes: 16-18 Meatballs
1 lb ground lamb (set out at room temp for 30 min)
1 large shallot, minced and divided (¾ used in meatballs, ¼ used in sauce)
3 large garlic cloves, grated or pressed
2 large eggs, whisked
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp dried oregano
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
½ c panko breadcrumbs
4 tbsp heavy cream
½ c fresh parsley, finely chopped
¼ c fresh cilantro, finely chopped
4 large mint leaves, finely chopped
¼ of the shallot listed above
2 tsp olive oil
2 c pomegranate juice
2 tbsp maple syrup (real)
¼ c raisins
½ tbsp honey
1 ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
⅛ tsp allspice
⅛ tsp garam masala
1 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp water (slurry-whisk together until combined)
Pinch of salt, a pinch of fresh cracked pepper
⅓ c pistachios, chopped (roasted and salted)
½ c cilantro, finely chopped
½ c parsley, finely chopped
5-7 mint leaves, finely chopped
To make the sauce, add roughly 2 tsp of olive oil to a saucepan and then place over low-medium heat. Next, add the ¼ of a shallot and cook for about 5 minutes or until the shallot is soft (make sure to stir constantly so it doesn’t burn to the bottom). Then add the rest of the sauce ingredients minus the cornstarch slurry. Bring the sauce to a rapid simmer (just under a slow boil), stirring every few minutes to ensure the sauce doesn’t burn to the bottom. Simmer the sauce for about 25-30 minutes or until it has reduced in half. After the sauce has been reduced, add the cornstarch slurry and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Then strain and set aside (a fine mesh strainer works perfectly for this) *. Taste the sauce and add any additional salt. While the sauce is simmering, I like to mix up the meatballs.
The key to light vs a dense meatball is how you handle the meat; the less the meat is handled the better (see note*). In a large bowl add the meat and all the ingredients for the meatballs besides the olive oil. Gently mix the meat until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Set aside for at least 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next, form the meat into ball form (ping pong size), a small cookie scoop works great for this. And again, remember not to overwork the meat. In a 9×13 pan add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan (a good quality cooking spray can also be used). Set the meatballs in the pan, making sure they do not touch. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Once cooked remove from the pan and set on a paper towel to drain any excess oil*. Right before serving the sauce may need to be heated for a few minutes over low heat.
There are a few methods for coating the meatballs in the sauce. Method #1 Brush the meatballs with the sauce. Method #2 Place the meatballs on the serving plate and pour the sauce over top. Method #3 Dunk the meatballs in the sauce and then place them on a serving plate. I like to serve a little extra sauce on the side too. Finally, once the meatballs are coated in the sauce, sprinkle the herbs, nuts, and pomegranate seeds on top*. Serve with little cocktail forks or toothpicks. Enjoy!
~Pomegranate can react with metals so a ceramic or nonstick sauce pan will work the best.
~I like to strain this sauce but this is totally my personal preference. I also strain it right back into the saucepan so I can reheat it easily if needed.
~When mixing the meatballs, I use the “claw” method. Take your hand and make a “claw” and gently mix the meat using that hand. I find if you use a fork or spoon the meat gets overworked which then will lead
to a dense meatball.
~Other cooking methods for the meatballs-you can bake these on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet so the fat drips off of them (spray the rack with cooking spray). You can pan sear them, I don’t prefer that method because it is very easy to dry the meatballs out.
~Some fat may drain out of the meatball during the cooking process. For a pretty presentation just lightly wipe away with a paper towel before coating in the sauce.
~For equal distribution of the topping, I like to mix the herbs and pistachios together once they are chopped before I sprinkle everything on top
~This dish can be used as a main course; just serve over couscous or in a pita pocket