Persian Meatballs with Beet Sauce
Tamarind and pomegranate molasses in the unexpected beet sauce contribute this classic Persian sweet-and-sour flavor profile to these otherwise straightforward meatballs. Serve over Yellow Rice for a color explosion.
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ onion, grated
- 2 tablespoons seltzer
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup canola oil
- Beet Sauce
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 large red beets, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 quart chicken stock
- Fresh mint leaves
- Make the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Mix together the ground beef, parsley, onion, seltzer, cumin, salt, paprika and pepper in a medium bowl. Shape the mixture into golf ball–size meatballs. Heat the oil in a deep ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Sear the meatballs on all sides, about 6 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Do not wipe out the pot.
- Make the sauce: Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook over medium-high heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tamarind paste and pomegranate molasses and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beets, meatballs and stock. Cover and braise in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and the beets are tender.
- Remove from the oven and transfer the meatballs to a plate. Place the pot over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and cook until the sauce has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed. Return the meatballs to the pot, toss to coat with the sauce and warm through. Scatter on mint leaves before serving.
- PERSIAN MEATBALLS WITH BEET SAUCE is excerpted from ISRAELI SOUL © 2018 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2018 by Michael Persico. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.