However, some internet research would suggest that this is typical of recipes from the Middle East, such as Syria and Iran, as well as Georgia, which has a very Mediterranean vibe going on as far as food is concerned.
Skill level: Easy
500g minced beef
100g pine nuts
1½ tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 x onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate (often sold in Oriental, Turkish or Middle Eastern shops)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp sugar
200ml beef stock or water
200ml full-bodied red wine or port (or even red grape juice)
500g fresh cherries, pitted (or 200g dried sour cherries)
boiled white rice or pitta bread, to serve
2 x spring onions, finely sliced
- Combine beef, pine nuts and ½ a teaspoon of allspice. Season with salt. Form into balls or rugby-ball shapes, about 5cm long. (The mixture should make up about 12-16 balls).
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil and fry the meatballs over a medium heat, turning gently until they are lightly browned (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and fry the onions over a low heat, until they have softened (about 10 minutes).
- Add the tamarind, lemon juice, sugar, the remaining allspice, the beef stock or water, wine (or grape juice if using) and bring to a simmer.
- Add the cherries and meatballs, partially cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Sauce should have thickened. Check seasoning to taste.
- Serve with plain rice or onto warmed pitta bread.