Intuitive Cooking | Special Occasion Meatballs
It's no secret I've been shy about sharing meat on social media. I am an omnivore through and through and yet -- there was something I felt I had to hide. Finally I'm waking up to the fact that meat - at least in my own body - can be beneficial and eating meat, sharing it on social media streams, and discussing it can be a way to ensure animals are actually treated better.
How is that possible, you ask? Well, in our modern consumerist culture, money talks. And if enough people start spending their money on truly well-treated animals (pasture-raised poultry, 100% grass-fed-and-finished beef, etc), we can create a shift that will change the marketplace. Factory farms and horribly treated, hormone-pumped animals can become a thing of the past. It takes discussion, a little conscious investment, and for sure, a boldness.
I deeply respect vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians, and any other -ian I've forgotten, but as I mentioned, for me, meat is rejuvenating, strengthening, and balancing to my system. This recipe has been a particular favorite for dinner parties at the Wandering Wellness household. It's adapted from a Persian recipe queen - Najmieh Batmangli - but one of my favorite things about it is how easily adaptable/intuitive the ingredients can be. I've made this recipe with more substitutions than I can list.
Also, note this recipe is great for a big group (6-8) but it can be halved for a smaller gathering or dinner date. It is certainly a special occasion kind of thing -- it looks complex and does take a bit of time, but it really isn't that difficult. Plus, the meat mixture can be refridgereated for up to 24 hours to get a headstart on a din party.
So check the suggested ingredients, check your pantry, and get creative.
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into 4 (or 4-6 garlic cloves peeled and crushed)
- 1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios, or cashews, or almonds. (I have also made this once with hemp and flaxseeds and it turned out delish!)
- 1/2 cup of gluten free bread crumbs or 2 slices GF toast (or normal toast) roughly chopped. (all you Paleo eaters out there can substitute almond flour.)
- 3/4 cup fresh parsley (or dill, or basil...)
- 1 TBSP fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 TBSP ground cumin
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 pounds ground lamb (or beef, or turkey)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup ghee, butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2/3 cup pomegranate molasses (can be found at link below)
- 1/4 scant cup honey
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- To make the meatballs: Pulse all meatball ingredients (excepting the meat and egg) in a food processor to make a grainy paste. Then transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the meat and egg. Knead lightly with your hands for a few minutes but try not to overmix. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hrs).
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Generously oil a wide ceramic baking dish.
- Remove the meatball mixture from the fridge and shape into meatballs (about 2-3 TBSP in each). Place the meatballs in the baking dish and brush well with oil. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
- While meatballs are baking, make the glaze. Mix all ingredients together -- you are looking for a balance of sweet and sour. If it's too sour, add a bit more honey.
- Reduce the oven temp to 400 degrees F, carefully glaze the meatballs and bake for another 6-10 minutes to infuse them with the flavor of pomegranate. Adjust seasonings to taste and perhaps sprinkle with a bit more sea salt before serving.