Sunday, 22 September 2019

Middle Eastern Meatballs in tomato pomegranate sauce

How To Put a Syrian Spin on your favourite meatballs recipe.

Middle eastern meatballs made with mince and spices offer endless possibilities for combining flavours and textures.Bread can be replaced with potato,cous cous or bulghur wheat, and many alternative herbs and spices also work.Try playing around till you come up with your favoured combo.
This particular spice mixture is so different from the ones I have become used to in my repertoire and I love eating something new and trying to decipher what is in it.Baharat is a blend that can be sprinkled on anything from devilled eggs to dry rubs for meats and fish. It’s smoky, rich, intoxicating aroma is perfect for grilling too,and meatballs will never be the same once you top them with a bold tomato and pomegranate sauce. A perfect twist on the classic savoury meatballs,that will change your world for the better.The meatballs on this occasion can be cooked up to two days in advance and re-heated in the sauce.The  benefit here is that the flavour of the spices intensify the longer you leave them.
Since discovering this sauce i have become enamoured with it. It’s unapologetic and it is in your face! What I most love is the sweet and astringent taste it carries that seems to transform whatever it is added to. I let these faggotesque dumplings swim in the sauce before serving because they can really take on the flavour of being fresh from the oven.
Have them alone, as a light snack or part of an evening of tapas, or pair them with some couscous, bulghur wheat or lentils for a more substantial meal.No story or anecdote I hear you say."He usually gives us a ripping yarn that sets the mood for the recipe" - well here it is.I had no idea why these meatballs were called dawood basha. There was a nobleman Da’ud Basha in the Ottoman Empire – maybe he liked meatballs?  Well the fact is he did, the story goes that Da’ud Basha loved these meatballs so much, he ate them every day.  I also read online that it is good luck to hide a silver ring in one of the meatballs.  I am not a fan of hiding non-edible choking hazards in my food, so I passed on that one. Nonetheless, dawood basha meatballs. These are fiery, moist meatballs, swimming in a light tomato based sauce flavoured with fruity pomegranate.
Syrian Meatballs "Dawood Basha"
These meatballs are like no other! they are are not like your typical Italian meatballs. This is a classic Syrian dish with rich flavours from simple ingredients. Besides the baharat blend of spices in the meatballs themselves, the pomegranate molasses and tomato gravy set this dish apart from your typical meatball dish.I tried something unusual in this recipe The meatballs,I first boiled in stock before being fried then baked in the sauce.There's a few reasons for utilizing this method: You'll end up with a juicier meatball, as it is cooked in liquid. It'll be rounder and more plump because it was cooked in a liquid,and you'll be 100% sure that it was cooked thoroughly without being burned.
FOR THE BAHARAT SPICE MIX
Serves: 4
2 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp sumac
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp allspice ground
1 tsp cardamom ground
1/2 tsp cloves ground
4 3-inch cinnamon sticks, ground
2 tbsp ground sweet paprika
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Toast the black peppercorns, cumin, coriander and cinnamon sticks in a sauté pan. Remove from the heat and add to a spice or coffee grinder to create a powder. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a small bowl, add the paprika, sumac, nutmeg, clove, allspice and cardamom. Whisk in the ground, It will last about 3 months, after that the potency diminishes. Makes about 3/4 cup.

FOR THE MEATBALLS 
1 lb ground beef or lamb
1 medium sized onion 1/3 cup minced the remainder sliced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp baharat spice mix (above)
500 ml (2 cups) organic chicken stock
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
Soak the breadcrumbs in milk for 5-10 minutes
Squeeze out the milk from the bread and mix with minced onions, ground beef, salt , pepper and form into 1 inch balls (makes roughly 25 meatballs) 6 per portion.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and drop the meatballs in.Lower the heat and cook for about ten minutes.Drain and dry the meatballs completely, then In 1 tbsp oil sauté the meatballs in deep pan for 3-4 minutes on each side, do not cook all the way through or else they will be dry.Set aside.
In the same pan add 1 tbsp oil and sauté the remaining sliced onions for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
Add the tomato sauce, chicken stock, pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper to taste
Let the flavours cook together for a few minutes.Stir in the lentils. Cover and simmer for 25 mins or until the lentils are almost tender.Return the meatballs to the pan,cover and simmer for a further ten minutes until everything is cooked and all the flavours have melded.

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