k Spiced Lamb Albondigas with Tahini Drizzle & Pomegranates k
There are certain dishes that are synonymous with Spanish Tapas and albondigas are one of them, meatballs are a massively popular tapas dish featured in most of the great bars around Ibiza. I have to admit that this recipe is more akin to lamb kotfas than traditional albondigas which are less spiced and usually made with a mix of beef and pork mince. In this case I am using freshly minced leg of lamb but you can definitely use any meat of your liking. Or if you are vegetarian or vegan you can substitute the lamb with crushed cooked chickpeas – basically like a falafel recipe.
The lamb brings its own rich flavour to the meatballs, but the addition of cumin, cinnamon, fresh herbs and a little bite from pine nuts makes them really scrumptious and addictive.
The tahini dressing adds creaminess and nicely cuts through the chili heat. For a super cute festive touch I like to present them as mini Christmas puddings – now we are really mixing up food cultures!
They look so enticing with a drizzle of dressing and a few seeds from these amazing locally grown pomegranates scattered over to look like holly berries.
I like to wash these beauties down with a glass of warm cava sangria!
400g minced lamb – or chickpeas for a vegetarian option (roughly chopped/mashed)
1 small onion finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
40g toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (toasted and ground) – or use ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch chilli flakes
Handful of finely chopped mint
Handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Ground black pepper 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the drizzle
100g light tahini paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Fresh pomegranate seeds
1. Place a small frying pan over a medium heat and add a dash of oil and sauté the onion and garlic until tender. Add the cumin seeds, ground coriander, cinnamon and chilli flakes and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Put the lamb into a mixing bowl, add the onion mixture and chopped fresh herbs along with the pine nuts a drizzle of olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands.
3. Roll the lamb mixture into balls the size of walnuts – make the bottom flat so they wont roll around when you serve them. Cover and chill for about 20 minutes to firm up. You can freeze at this stage if you wish.
4. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a medium bowl whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. The sauce should be a bit runnier than honey, transfer to a serving bowl.
5. Place a griddle pan over a medium high heat. When hot, griddle the meatballs for 5–6 minutes, turning halfway through so that both sides are well browned. You can pop them into the oven for another 10 minutes to warm them through.
6. Finally arrange on a platter and drizzle with the tahini dressing and place a few pomegranate seeds and a small spring of coriander so it looks like a holly leaf.