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Meatballs in pan with pomegranate seeds

Lamb meatballs with sour cherries, pomegranates & pistachios

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • plus 45 mins chilling
  • Easy
  • Serves 6

Try a taste of the Middle East with these meatballs, marrying rich lamb with vibrant fruit flavours for a sweet and sour effect

  • Freezable
Nutrition: per serving


  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp very roughly chopped pistachios
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

For the meatballs

  • 1.2kg lamb mince
  • 1 small red onion , grated
  • 4 garlic cloves , grated
  • 1 red chilli , deseeded and very finely chopped
  • 1 lemon , zested
  • 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 3 tsp ground cumin

For the sauce

  • 75g dried sour cherries
  • 100ml pomegranate juice
  • 1 large onion , finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 100ml red wine


  • STEP 1

    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.

  • STEP 2

    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.

  • STEP 3

    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.

  • STEP 4

    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.

  • STEP 5

    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.

  • STEP 6

    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.


Take a little pinch of the meatball mixture, fry it in some hot oil then taste it – this way you’ll know whether you have to adjust the seasoning or spicing (the worst mistake in making meatballs is not to season them properly).

Recipe from Good Food magazine, March 2019

Goes well with


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A star rating of 3 out of 5.5 ratings

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