hilst the weather today has been glorious and sunny its still felt a little chilly around the ankles and certainly not the April weather I was hoping for! But as long as it isn’t April showers and May holds more promise then I can cope with that. So a Sunday evening after a long and satisfying gym session, run and ahem…jacuzzi session….a home comfort was required to replenish the nutrients and fuel me for another challenging week at work. But nothing on ‘forage in the pantry’ can be complete without the odd scattering of spice, dusting of chopped herbs or middle Eastern influence. So with Istanbul on the mind as the new top draw on my prized ‘must visit’ list, Turkish meatballs sprang to hungry mind and it wasn’t long before I was enjoying a satisfied hunger.
- 450g minced lamb
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 3 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped
- Pinch smoked paprika
- Pinch ground cumin
- Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp cumin seed, crushed
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 50g pearl barley/100g giant cous cous
- Large handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Start by combining the meatball ingredients in a large bowl with some seasoning. Shape into 8 large golf ball sized meatballs and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
- Simmer the pearl barley/giant cous cous in boiling water until cooked according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside to keep warm.
- Preheat the over to 170°C and remove the meatballs from the fridge. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
- Fry the meatballs to seal and brown for 2-3 minutes. Once well browned on the outside, wrap in some foil and place in the low oven to bake slowly while you prepare the sauce.
- Fry the chopped onion in the leftover lamb juices in the same frying pan adding a little more oil if needed. Soften for 5 minutes until translucent and beginning to brown. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the ground spices and mix to coat the onion.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and a little hot water to thin the sauce to the desired consistency and add some salt and pepper.
- Simmer for 5 minutes before adding the vinegar, the drained barely and all but a handful of the parsley. Taste and adjust accordingly. Add a little more water if needed.
- Remove the meatballs from the over and add, with any juices from the foil, to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes to heat through.
- Serve in deep warmed bowls topped with a scattering of the remaining parsley.