A blend of minced beef and lamb with warming spices including cinnamon and allspice makes for some delicious meatballs which pair perfectly with fragrant saffron rice.
This is a great dish for lunch or dinner with friends as the meatballs can be prepared in advance and cook in the time taken to cook the rice. I have paired the rice and meatballs with some sautéed broad beans.
Spiced Meatballs, Saffron Rice
For the Spice Blend: 1/2 Cinnamon Stick, 1tsp Ground Sumac, 1tsp Ground Allspice, 1/2 Whole Nutmeg Grated, 2tsp Cumin Seed, 1tsp Coriander Seed, 1tsp Black Peppercorns, 1tsp Cardamom Pods
For the Meatballs: 300g Minced Beef, 300g Minced Lamb, 1 Medium Onion Chopped, Large Handful Parsley Chopped, Small Handful Coriander Chopped, Small Handful Mint Chopped, 1tbsp Ground Cumin, Zest 1 Lemon, Sea Salt, Black Pepper
For the Rice: 280g Basmati Rice, 450ml Boiling Water, 25g Unsalted Butter, White Pepper, Sea Salt, Small Handful Soaked Sultanas and Dried Cranberries, 1/2tsp Saffron Strands, Small Handful Chopped; Parsley, Mint and Tarragon
1) Prepare the spice blend by combining all of the ingredients in a spice blender and grinding to a fine powder.
2) Prepare the meatballs by combining all ingredients in a large bowl and mixing well – seasoning with a little sea salt and black pepper. Mix to fully combine and roll into small balls.
3) Cook the meatballs in a large frying pan over a low to medium heat. They should take around 10 minutes each side to fully cook through.
4) Meanwhile prepare the rice. Soak the saffron strands in 2tbsp boiling water. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the rice, season with salt and white pepper, and stir until fully coated in butter. Add the boiling water and turn the heat down low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
5) After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid and cover half of the rice with the saffron water. Cover again, leaving off the heat and allow to rest until the meatballs are ready. Once ready, add the sultanas and cranberries to the rice and stir well. Serve in a bowl and garnish with the chopped herbs.
6) Serve the rice with the meatballs, a lemon wedge and some natural yogurt.