Pomegranate glazed lamb meatballs are savory, sweet and tangy with just the right amount of sticky goodness. The flavor and texture of the lamb mixed with lots of fresh herbs and seasoning is one that I believe you will enjoy but if you are not a fan of lamb, beef may be substituted.
Meatballs can be found in many cultures throughout the world, it is just the type of meat as well as the herbs and spices that may vary depending upon the culture. The delicious pomegranate meatballs I’m sharing with you are similar to ones that you might find throughout the Middle East, especially in Turkey, which is one of the largest growers of pomegranates in the world.
The lamb meatballs are delicious even without the glaze because of the chopped mixed fresh herbs and seasonings that are used. Finishing them with the pomegranate glaze gives them a deep and flavorful sweet and tangy taste with just the right amount of sticky goodness that we all love.
I paired the savory and sweet meatballs with pistachio couscous and a cooling mint yogurt sauce for a delicious evening meal. The meatballs are also excellent when entertaining friends. Just prepare them smaller for a one bite size and serve on a platter as a party appetizers with wooden toothpicks.
Pomegranate Glazed Lamb Meatballs Served With Pistachio Couscous
Serves four, adjust the recipe accordingly
- 1 lb. ground lamb (or a combination of lamb and beef)
- 1 small onion or 1/4 of a large onion, chopped fine
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1/4 – 1/2 c. breadcrumbs
- 1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 c. finely chopped mint, more for garnish
- 1/2 tsp. Urfa Biber Turkish chile pepper*
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp.cinnamon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil for cooking
*Urfa Biber Turkish Chile peppers are very hot and have a dark, almost purple color with a flavor of dried fruit, coffee, and chocolate. Aleppo peppers or hot paprika can be substituted.
Mix all the ingredients (except the oil) together until combined and form into meatballs about 1 1/2 inch in size. Heat the oil in a large nonreactive sauté pan (such as stainless steel) over medium high heat. Add the meatballs, brown, giving the pan an occasional shake to roll them around and cook each side until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the meatballs and drain on paper towels. Prepare the pomegranate glaze below.
- 1/2 c. chicken stock
- 3 – 4 Tbsp. Pomegranate molasses*, plus additional to drizzle
*Pomegranate molasses is pomegranate juice that’s been reduced to a delicious syrup that has a rich, fruity, intensely tangy and sweet flavor. It is often used in Georgian, Armenian, Iranian, Syrian, Israeli, Lebanese, and Turkish cooking. It can be found in the international aisle of most larger grocery stores, in Middle Eastern and Asian grocery stores, as well as online.
In the same sauté pan used to cook the meatballs, drain any accumulated fat. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits. Add the pomegranate molasses, lower the heat and simmer until reduced about half.
To finish, add the meatballs back to the pan with the glaze, turn down the heat to low and gently swirl to evenly coat. When you are ready to serve, place the meatballs on the top of the couscous, drizzle with additional molasses and garnish with chopped mint, if you wish. I like to serve the lamb meatballs with mint yogurt sauce as an optional condiment at the table. You will find my recipe below.
Mint Yogurt Sauce
- 1 c. plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, minced finely
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh mint
- salt and pepper to taste
Warm the olive oil and minced garlic (I do this to mellow the flavor of the garlic but it is not necessary) then let cool. Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for about 30 minutes for the flavors meld. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
- 1 10 oz. box of couscous
- 2 1/4 cups of water*
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 ground pepper
- 1/2 c. shelled pistachios, toasted lightly and chopped
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
Bring water, oil, salt and pepper to a boil then stir in the couscous. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Fluff couscous and cool. After cooled, fluff again (I like to use my hands) to remove any small lumps. When ready to serve, stir in the pistachios and mint. *For additional flavor, I like to replace the water with chicken broth. I often add a little cinnamon and cumin as well for an enhanced Mediterranean taste.
I used all lamb but you can use beef or a 50-50 mixture of the two.
Good seasoning is very important. Cook a small piece of the lamb mixture as a tester to check for seasoning, adjust if necessary and then cook the meatballs.
Different brands of pomegranate molasses have different levels of sweetness and tartness. Adjust the amount used, according to your personal tastes.
Be sure to use a nonreactive sauté pan such as stainless steel pan as pomegranate juice is very acidic and can damage the finish of cast iron pans.
If you wish, you can bake the meatballs for 12 to 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven until browned and cooked through.
If you plan to make the meatballs ahead and freeze, I would wait to glaze the meatballs until reheating.
I used the meatballs as a main dish but you can make smaller sized ones and serve as an appetizer.Notes From The Kitchen
This flavorful dinner was a wonderful change of pace from our usual weekday meals. While my husband and I love Italian meatballs cooked in a fresh marinara sauce, it is nice to change things up once in awhile. We enjoyed the meatballs with new tastes and flavors coming from the pomegranate molasses and Urfa Biber chile peppers. I will be experimenting more with these new ingredients that I now have in my kitchen pantry.