Moroccan Meatballs in Pomegranate Sauce

While surfing the 'net for new food ideas to serve in the sukkah, I fell over a Moroccan-style meatball recipe.   It was made with  ground lamb and the usual herbs and spices, but the accompanying sauce, made with pomegranate molasses, looked amazing! 

I was hesitant to make these meatballs, however, because theHubby has always said he doesn't care for the taste of pomegranate.  He never takes my offer to share a fresh pomegranate.  He refuses pomegranate molasses on his salad.  Doesn't ever share my pomegranate drink.   But I figured that if I made the meatballs with a beef and chicken mixture and add lemon instead of lime juice, he might not notice the pomegranate in the glaze.  So while I drowned my serving of meatballs in the sweet-tart sauce, I barely dusted his serving with sauce.

Hubs popped one meatball in his mouth.  His eyes widened.  Then munched the next one a little slowly, savoring the flavor.  Then said, "the meatballs taste like the ones my grandmother used to make!"

He explained that when he was a kid, everyone loved the once-a-year meatballs made by his grandmother.  Every Passover, and only on Passover, his grandmother would whip up a batch of these meatballs, which made them extra special.  Hubby loved them, his brother loved them, his cousins loved them, everyone loved them.  But hubby's mother never learned how to make these meatballs.  Ancient Ukrainian secret maybe, but No One except his grandma knew how to make 'em.  So one day on a family visit to his grandparents', he decided he would find out how to make these special meatballs. 

So picture a 11 year-old boy sitting at his grandmother's kitchen table, spiral pad flipped to a clean page, pencil in hand, asking how to make The Recipe.  

His grandmother stops whatever she was doing, thought for a moment, then in her thick Yiddish-accent, says, "Foist you take less half a lemon ..."

Sensing her measurement standards could not be transcribed, he flipped the pad closed, thanked her very much and joined the rest of the family in the living room.  That was the closest anyone ever came to finding out The Recipe.  

Until today.  Maybe.  To confirm, I packed up some of the meatballs and sauce and brought them over to his mother's house.   His mother tried one.  Then said ...

... they were not even close.  

Oh, well.  Hubby likes them.  And I think you, Dear Reader, will like my version as well.

Moroccan Meatballs in Pomegranate Sauce
Adapted from: Paleo Kosher Kitchen
Yield : approximately 50-60 cocktail-size meatballs

cooking spray
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground veal or chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 loosely-packed cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
2 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, divided
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbl. dry sherry (optional)
cooked rice (optional)

Preheat broiler.    Lightly coat large shallow-rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.  Set aside.
With (hopefully clean) hands, gently combine the ground beef and veal (or chicken) in a large bowl. 

Gently mix in onion, parsley, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper and the cumin until incorporated.  Avoid overworking the mixture to prevent toughening the meat.

Roll meat into one-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.

Broil meatballs on center rack in preheated oven for 10 minutes.   Remove from oven and turn meatballs over.  Return to oven and broil an additional 5 minutes or until meatballs are nicely browned and cooked through to the center.

Meanwhile, whisk pomegranate molasses, honey, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a 2-cup heat-safe bowl. Place in microwave oven, cover loosely and cook on 100% power for 1 minute.  Remove from microwave and whisk in sherry, if using.

Transfer cooked meatballs to a serving bowl.  Pour pomegranate sauce over meatballs, using a serving spoon to make sure they are well-coated with the sauce. 

To serve as hors' d'oeuvres, arrange in a single layer on a serving platter and insert fancy toothpicks.  For dinner, serve over rice.  


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