I scored some nice ground lamb from the butcher yesterday and had this recipe already worked out in my mind in the five minutes it took me to return home.
If you haven't tried pomegranate molasses yet, this dish is the perfect introduction to it. The molasses lends a tart background note to the meatballs and to the ketchup.
Lamb Meatballs with Pomegranate and Red Wine Ketchup
For the meatballs:
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 c panko bread crumbs (I like Ian's brand)
1/2 c red wine
1 Tbsp whole milk ricotta cheese
1 tsp fresh sage
1 tsp fresh oregano
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp shallot, minced
1/2 tsp fresh parsley, minced
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp Creole seasoning
freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1) Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2) Make a small test meatball and fry up on stovetop or nuke in the microwave. Taste test meatball and adjust salt, pepper, and Creole seasonings in raw meat mixture. Create another test meatball, if needed.
3) Lightly spray a pan having sides (not a cookie sheet) with spray oil.
4) Form meat mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs and place in prepared pan.
5) Bake meatballs at 350 for 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through cooking.
6) Remove meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
7) Using additional paper towels, dab away the oil from the baking pan without disturbing the solids.
8) Scrape up about 2 tsp of pan solids and set aside for use in pomegranate and red wine ketchup (recipe below).
7) Once meatballs are drained, remove from paper towels and keep warm while preparing the pomegranate and red wine ketchup.
For the ketchup:
1/3 c tomato ketchup
1 Tbsp Steen's cane syrup
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1/2 c red wine
1 tsp lamb or beef demi-glace
2 tsp pan solids from lamb meatballs
1) Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk and heat to boiling.
2) Reduce by about 1/3 or until the consistency is just slightly thicker than regular tomato ketchup.
3) Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4) Serve over lamb meatballs.
Serve the meatballs and ketchup alongside mashed potatoes, brown basmati rice with vegetables, or over a spring salad. Great with a hearty Cabernet-Shiraz.