Kufteh Pesteh – Meatballs with pistachios and pomegranate

کوفته پسته

Yes indeed, this is another Kufteh (meatballs in Farsi) in the long line of meatballs in Persian cuisine. Except this one is just jam packed with incredible and unique flavors that are enhanced with the addition of fresh herbs and sparkling arils of pomegranate and the crunch of the much beloved emerald green colored Iranian pistachios.

I think of this dish as one of those incredibly rewarding and quick dinner ideas that literally takes about 15 minutes to put together and 20 minutes to bake. The result is an exotic and flavorful meatballs for dinner!

These meatballs can be served as a side dish or with a nice green salad and accompanied with Persian flat breads as the main course. You like these meatballs with rice? You can have it with a big mound of Persian basmati saffron rice and a serving of crunchy saffron Tahdig too!

Who says Persian food takes a long time to cook?! Well, while many of our cherished stews take a significant amount of time to simmer in order to bring out all the amazing flavors, there are easier and quicker dishes for a weeknight meal.

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Kufteh Pesteh

Meatballs with pistachios and pomegranate
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: beef, herbs, meatballs, pistachio, pomegranate
Servings: 4
Author: Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw shelled pistachios
  • 2 green onions, cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, packed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour, or all purpose
  • 1 pound ground beef, or lamb or turkey
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey, adjust to your taste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, ground

Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon pistachios, slivered
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate arils
  • 1 sprig fresh mint and basil

Instructions

  • In a food processor, ground the pistachios to a course meal. Remove and place in a large bowl.
  • Using the same food processor, add the onions and the herbs and process until they are finely chopped. Remove and add to the mixing bowl with the pistachio meal.
  • Add the remaining ingredients with the exception of the oil to the bowl and knead the mixture until it is completely mixed.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Spread the olive oil in a casserole style baking dish and set aside.
  • Begin rolling the meat mixture into walnut sized meatballs. Roughly about 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture.
  • Place the meatballs in the baking dish and gently roll them around to coat them with the olive oil.
  • Place the meatballs in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine and stir all the ingredients for the glaze.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oven and using a brush generously glaze the meatballs until all the glaze has been incorporated.
  • Continue to bake for another 5 minutes to make sure the meatballs have fully cooked. Adjust the time according to the size of the meatballs.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oven and place on a serving platter. Drizzle all the remaining glaze and juices from the meatballs on the platter.
  • Garnish the meatballs with pistachios, pomegranate arils and fresh mint and basil.
  • Serve the meatballs with Persian flatbreads and a platter of fresh herbs.

Notes

Different brands of pomegranate molasses offer different levels of sweetness and tartness.  Adjust the amount of pomegranate for the glaze according to your taste preferences. 

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