Pomegranate & pistachio lamb meatballs with bulgur wheat salad

Lamb meatballs with bulgur wheat salad

Meatballs are always a popular dish, here I’ve given them a middle eastern twist by adding sweet and sour pomegranate molasses and creamy, crunchy pistachios. The meatballs are paired with a bulgur wheat salad, roasted veg and pickled cucumbers for an extra crunchy tang but you could also serve them with herby couscous, roasted baby potatoes, or indeed any other roast veg.  

Serves 3-4

Meatballs

·       400g minced lamb

·       1 small or ½ large brown onion, roughly chopped

·       30g pistachios, roughly chopped

·       Small handful fresh white breadcrumbs

·       1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

·       Salt & pepper

Bulgur Wheat Salad

·       200g bulgur wheat

·       400ml water

·       1 x veg stock cube

·       Juice of ½ lemon

·       Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

·       Seeds from ½ pomegranate (or 1 pack of pomegranate arils)

·       2 tbsps pistachios, chopped

Veg

·       1 x red or orange pepper

·       2 x baby aubergines

Pickled cucumbers

·       ¼ cucumber

·       20g Caster sugar

·       30ml white wine vinegar

·       A couple of slices of fresh chilli – optional

Meatball glaze

·       A little Pomegranate molasses

·       Leftover pomegranate juice from the salad

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F

1)      Meatballs: roughly chop the onion, blitz with garlic in a food processor. Break lamb mince into chunks & add to the food processor with the breadcrumbs, seasoning, pomegranate molasses, pistachios – blitz briefly to combine without becoming a paste. Shape with damp hands into 12-16 meatballs and chill to firm up while you make the rest

2)      Salad: roast the pepper directly over a gas flame (or roast in a 200C oven) until all the skin is blackened. Once its cooled a little peel off the skin & cut into thin strips, set aside – don’t wait until its completely cold as then it’ll be hard to peel

3)      Pickled cucumbers: Mix the vinegar, sugar and chilli in a shallow bowl or Tupperware container. Chop cucumber into thin slices, add to pickling liquid and give it all a shake to combine and leave to pickle while you get on with the rest

4)      Cut aubergines in ½ lengthways, drizzle with a little oil and salt, roast in @200C oven until soft through (check at 15 mins)

5)      Brown meatballs lightly in a non-stick frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat, then put in the 200C oven for 15-20 mins until browned on top and cooked through – check the centre is hot and no longer pink

6)      While the meatballs are cooking, make the bulgur wheat. In a medium saucepan add the wheat, stock & hot water, bring it to a rolling boil and cook until the grains are tender – about 10 minutes.

7)      Meanwhile make the glaze by reducing any leftover pomegranate juice and a little pomegranate molasses in a small pan until its sticky – or you can just use molasses on its own and brush it straight onto the meatballs

8)      Once the bulgur wheat is cooked drain, then leave in the sieve for a few mins to drain completely. Fluff up the grains and add lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste, chopped pistachios & pomegranate seeds

9)      When the meatballs are cooked brush with the pomegranate glaze/molasses, cook a further 5 minutes in the oven to get a bit sticky

10)   Serve the salad alongside the meatballs, roasted veg and pickled cucumbers