Recipe: Middle Eastern Meatballs

Everyone loves meatballs — Lucy Corry is sure they’re due a comeback sometime soon.

Words: Lucy Corry  Styling & Photos: Carolyn Robertson


Serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large onions, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
⅓ cup tomato ketchup (or chutney)
¼ cup honey
½ cup sultanas or raisins
finely grated zest and juice of two lemons
750g lamb mince
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 generous cup fresh breadcrumbs (from about 150g stale ciabatta or sourdough)
⅓ cup cold water
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus a little extra for garnishing


Set a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil. When it’s hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and turning golden (about 10 minutes).

Add the salt, spices, tomato ketchup, honey, dried fruit, lemon zest and juice. Stir for about five minutes until the mixture thickens.

Remove the pan from the heat and tip into a large bowl to cool completely. (While you’re waiting, line a large shallow-sided roasting dish with baking paper and turn up the oven to 200°C.)

When the mixture is cool to touch, add the lamb, egg, breadcrumbs, water and parsley. Season with freshly ground black pepper and mix gently but thoroughly (this is easiest if you use your hands). Form the mixture into balls (about the size of a ping pong ball) and place them on the prepared tray.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, turning them over halfway through cooking so they brown on all sides. Serve with Surrendered Pumpkin & Tomatoes and Super Green Sauce (see below). Any leftovers are excellent cold.

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Super Green Sauce

Put 1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped ¾ teaspoon table salt, 1 packed cup fresh parsley.

Add packed cups spinach or silverbeet leaves, washed and roughly chopped, and 1½ cups greek yoghurt in a food processor or blender.

Whiz until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Decant into a jug and serve. Store it in the fridge if you’re making the sauce in advance.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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