|lamb meatballs with pine nuts in tomato sauce (daoud basha)|
I've made various versions of lamb meatballs over the years, and some have been stuffed with pine nuts, (which makes an intriguing surprise when you bite into them). However, this recipe for lamb meatballs with pine nuts in tomato sauce is yet another of Claudia Roden's great recipes from Arabesque: A taste of Morocco, Turkey + Lebanon. Not only is it one of the easiest as well as tastiest meatball and tomato sauce dishes ever.
|lamb and pine nut meatballs |
with vermicelli rice
The meatballs are initially baked, rather than frying them, which means that they are less likely to fall apart. Whizz up a raw tomato sauce which is then cooked with the meatballs. The lamb meatballs infuse the simple tomato sauce with an extra layer of savoury flavour.
Serve with vermicelli rice and dream of sunnier days.
Skill level: Easy
2 x English onions, very finely chopped or grated
750g lean minced lamb
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
100g pine nuts
1kg tomatoes (I use a mixture of tinned plum and fresh tomatoes)
2 x garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 tsp sugar
fresh parsley or coriander, roughly chopped (to serve)
- Whizz up the onions in a food processor. Drain, reserving the onion liquid.
- Combine the chopped onion in a bowl with the lamb, salt, pepper, ground cinnamon and allspice. Knead into a ball with your hands until the spices are well mixed and a rough paste is formed.
- Wet your hands and form the paste into balls about the size of walnuts. (It's easier to do if your hands are slightly damp.)
- Poke a hole into each meatball with your forefinger and stuff the cavity with 3 to four pine nuts, then close up the hole.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C / Gas Mark 6.
- Pour a little oil into a shallow dish and roll the meatballs in the oil.
- Place the oiled meatballs in a large ovenproof dish and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the meatballs have lightly browned.
- Whizz up the tomatoes in a food processor with the garlic, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of sugar. You may need to use another teaspoon of sugar - depending on how naturally sweet your tomatoes are.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and give the dish a bit of a shake to make sure that none of the meatballs have stuck to the bottom. Pour over the raw tomato sauce. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, carefully turning the meatballs over once.
- Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley or coriander.