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Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix them together with your hands, really pummelling the meat so that the spices and seasoning get well mixed in. Using wet hands, form the meat into 24 balls just a little bigger than a walnut.
As you form these, put them on to a baking sheet or a tray. Cover them and put in the fridge for 45 mins or so to firm up.
For the sauce, put the cherries and the pomegranate juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and leave the cherries to sit in the warm liquid and plump up for 40 mins or so.
Heat ½ tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and fry the meatballs in batches (they will give off lots of oil when frying). Transfer to a plate as each lot are browned. Remember you aren’t cooking these through, just browning them. Gently fry the onion in 1 tbsp oil in a large shallow casserole or deep frying pan until pale gold. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of mins, then add the wine, stock, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon and bay. Add the cherries, too – they should have absorbed nearly all of the pomegranate juice.
Put the meatballs back in the pan. Bring the sauce to just under boiling, then turn the heat down low, season well, cover the pan and cook for 15 mins. Take the lid off and cook for another 15 mins. You should have a nice sauce around the meatballs, but if it seems too thin, remove the meatballs and reduce the sauce by boiling it, then put the meatballs back in.
Taste for seasoning – you should consider the sweetness as well as the saltiness – and adjust it if you need to (you could add a teaspoon of honey, or a little more pomegranate molasses). Scatter with the herbs, pistachios and pomegranate seeds to finish.
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