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Sabrina Ghayour's Persian Lamb Meatballs


Persian food is so flavourful and fragrant that it is definitely up there in terms of favourite cuisines for me. It's heavy reliance on lamb is also a winner, so when I saw this recipe from Sabrina Ghayour (author of the excellent Persiana) in Delicious magazine, I knew I had to make it. I don't usually enjoy 'cooking the books' as it were, but I'm still kind of getting to grips with some of the traditional flavours and ingredients used in Persian cooking, so wanted to stick to this recipe as closely as possible.

You can see the full recipe: here. So I'll just run through a quick synopsis.

You need to cook and cool some basmati rice and yellow split peas separately, then these are all mixed in with lamb mince, onion, egg, flour, dill, turmeric, parsley and barberries to make koftes. I didn't give myself enough time to search out barberries, so used dried cranberries which I soaked to take out some of the annoying added sweetness. They should look a bit like this:

To make a sauce, you cook down onions, garlic, more turmeric and a can of tomatoes, then the koftes are CAREFULLY added to the pan. They are quite fragile; or mine were anyway. I wasn't happy with the depth of the sauce, so added some pre-bought lamb stock which helped. This all simmers away for over an hour. After allowing the flavours to develop I still wasn't completely happy with the finished product, so I raided my cupboard and grated some dried lime (another classic Persian flavour) over the top of the lot. This really helped bring out another level of the sharp fruity flavours that I expect the barberries would have otherwise delivered.

Sprinkle over some pomegranate seeds and a few more herbs. Serve with flatbread like lavash and plenty of creamy yoghurt. I stirred some wild garlic oil into my yoghurt and also did a little salad with loads more parsley, dill and onion.

Wrap it all up and enjoy.

Thanks Sabrina!

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