When I saw this recipe on Helen Graves blog I couldn’t wait to try it. I love rhubarb in everything and thought the combination of the ingredients is quite unusual. I did tweak the recipe a little, for instance, I didn’t have Turkish pepper paste or Turkish chillies, so I already can not call the meatballs ‘Turkish’. I replaced the Turkish paste with Harissa paste instead, as well as adding fresh pomegranate as a topping at the end. With all the rest – I did follow exact recipe. As a result, I liked it but Mark didn’t, saying it was a little too sour for his ‘refined’ palette. I was a bit disappointed to begin with because I really thought that would be a great dish, but the problem was that this dish was a bit on a sour side. And it is great if you like it (like me), but if you have quite sensitive palette, maybe better to leave out.
I’d like to cook this dish again in future but I would definitely replace the rhubarb with, maybe, plums or apricots. But I leave it up to you, to make your own choice.
LAMB MEATBALLS WITH RHUBARB AND POMEGRANATE
500g lean lamb mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Harissa paste
12- teaspoons mild chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 slices bread soaked in not too much of milk until completely wet, then squeeze the excess of water
oil & butter for frying
For the sauce:
2 sticks rhubarb (approx 300g)
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
generous splash white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
pistachios or fresh pomegranate to garnish (optional)
1. Make the meatballs by combining the lamb mince, onion, garlic, Harissa paste, chilli, cinnamon, bread and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix really well using your hands, then shape into 25 balls. In a frying pan, heat a splash of oil and knob of butter. Fry the balls in batches, about 5 or 6 at a time, until browned, then set aside. Drain the fat off into a bowl but keep it set aside.
2. De-glaze the pan with a good glug of the wine. Add the rhubarb, pomegranate molasses, sugar and some salt. Add a generous splash of water, bring to a simmer, put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes. Return the meatballs to the pan with some of the drained fat, and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on. Serve with cous cous or bread, or rice, or as a pitta bread filler and yoghurt. Garnish with pistachios or pomegranate seeds.