Spinning Globe Persian Pomegranate and Pistachio Meatballs


January 6, 2013 by Joanne T Ferguson

Meatballs-PersianAre you curious about my Spinning Globe Persian Pomegranate and Pistachio
Meatballs ?

When I was little, I loved nothing but spinning around my world globe, closing my eyes, making the globe stop and pointing to a little spot.

It did not matter what country it was or even if it was in the middle of one of the 5 oceans; there “used” to be four back then.

I would LOUDLY exclaim to my mother (so no matter what room she was in) she could “still” hear me!

I would YELL, “I have a friend in Mongolia!”

My mother would YELL back, sometimes forgetting we were in adjoining rooms.

“No you don’t!” She would say.

“Yes I do!” and “I can prove it” as I pointing to “exactly” where she lived on the globe!

I could entertain myself for what “seemed” like hours in spinning, pointing and exclaiming where all of my imaginary friends lived.

“I’m visiting my friend Tatiana in Kamchatka”, I would YELL!

My mother would say, “Good, tell her I said hello!”

Back then, I thought it was pretty cool that I could visit all my friends around the globe and listen to their stories all with an armchair view!

When we all sat at the dinner table “as a family”, my dad would always ask, “How was your day?”

I could see my mother’s eyes roll from across the table.

You know that mother’s eyes roll look?

Dad would always “indulge” my imaginary tales of adventures and was always amused at how detailed I could describe (not only) who my imaginary friends were, where they lived, but what foods they ate too!

If I wanted to know more about where they lived etc, I “ran” to my Encyclopedia Britannia (See my reference via Seductive Sweet Potato Delights ) and found out what was unique about it too!

This was in the days pre-Google searches, pre-Yahoo searched, heck, pre-computers too!

I said to my dad one night, (it must have been an omen to making this Spinning Globe Persian Pomegranate and Pistachio Meatballs recipe sometime in my future), “I’m going to Persia”* one day!”

When he asked me, Why?, (with my mother eyes “still” rolling) I said EXCITEDLY, so I can meet my friends and enjoy the food.

My dad and I never stopped our little game, until we BOTH got “THE LOOK!”

You know, “THE LOOK” eh?

And then, just like Columbo**, my dad would ask, “May I ask ONE more question?”

By then, my mother had “chimed” in to say, “But you have never eaten Persian food…now eat your dinner!”

I replied back, “One day!”

And so, today IS the day!

When I found this Pomegranate and Pistachio Meatball recipe on Fearless Kitchen, (SOURCE: Batmanglij, Najmieh. From Persia to Napa. Mage Publishers, Washington DC, 2006 p. 110), I knew this Persian dish was “on the list” too!

That’s what I love about learning, whether about food, countries, customs, traditions, cultures; it is a never-ending journey.

1 red onion, peeled and quartered
1 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon Lucknow fennel seed, roasted
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes***
2 teaspoons salt
450 grams ground lamb
450 grams lamb sausages, (I used rosemary and lamb, casings removed)****
1 egg

3/4 cup pomegranate paste*****
1 cup honey (I used Organic Raw Honey)
1 cup Pinot Grigio (I used Taylors Promised Land Pinot Grigio 2011; see below reference)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

NOTE: I roasted the Lucknow fennel seeds in a fry pan until fragrant (about 1 minute) as I did think it added flavor to the dish; believed to be one of the highest quality fennel seeds; are small, crunchy, stronger in taste and sweeter.

Combine ALL ingredients except egg and meat.

In a large mixing bowl, add meat and egg to above mixture; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 250C (I have never baked on 250C which is the equivalent to 482F)

Oil spray a large roasting pan.

Remove meat mixture from fridge. Shape into bite-sized balls and place into the large roasting pan. Grease “generously with oil spray. Bake 5 minutes.

Remove pan from oven; turn meatballs; bake for 5 minutes.

Combine glaze ingredients;mix well.

Remove meatballs from oven; Pour glaze over meatballs. Reduce heat to ~200C (400F);baked for 20 minutes.

Turn off oven and leave in oven until oven is completely cold.

It’s MAGIC what happens!

*located in Western Asia, Persia means “Land of the Aryans”. Iran and Persia are often used interchangeably. In 1935, the government of Persia requested all countries of the world to call Persia by its native name Iran.

**was an American detective on a television series who wore a “rumpled” raincoat, had an ever-present cigar, a bumbling demeanor, but was “brilliant” in his logic and dedication skills.

While he could “exasperate” people with his questions (mmmmmm, sounds like someone with “her” questions lol), he knew when to back off, walk away and THEN you would hear him say, “May I ask ONE more question?

Perhaps my dad was really Columbo?

***I “may” have added a smidge more.

****had on hand

*****never used pomegranate paste before; found in our local Persian food store.


Original recipes calls for 2 pounds of ground lamb.

I like to use up what I have in the fridge, freezer and or pantry.

Do you like meatballs?

What is your favorite meatball recipe or cuisine?

If your could be a meatball flavor combination, what would YOU be?

If you could have a friend anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?

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20 thoughts on “Spinning Globe Persian Pomegranate and Pistachio Meatballs

  1. I love the “Columbo look”. This was such a fun story. I wonder if this is how it all began for you Joanne, your list idea was already forming. 🙂 Great meatballs, too!

  2. auntbeesrecipes says:

    Love the story about your mom and the spinning globe 🙂 Those meatballs look fantastic! We love all kinds of meatballs, but I recently found a recipe for SWEET n SOUR meatballs I am making soon! <3

  3. Glazed lamb meat balls sound so good!

  4. Thanks for your great story! I know the spinning of the globe 🙂 We recently did it while we were waiting to see the Imax movie. That had a globe in the table, which we turned and turned and looked and talked about the places we have been but also the ones we wanna go, one day!

  5. I love meeting people from other countries and cultures! What a cute story and I can picture the fun spinning the globe 🙂

  6. Kim says:

    Pretty inspiring!! Ground lamb is no problem here, lamb sausages is a bit more difficult. Even my local butcher doesn’t carry them; special order. But, I love the sound of all the other ingredients. Rich and decadent. Very nice.

    • Thanks Kim. The original recipe calls for ground meat. I, like you 🙂 , like using up what’s in the freezer, fridge, pantry etc as wasting food is a big pet peeve of mine. I took the sausage out of the casings and added that meat to the ground lamb!
      Never used pomegranate paste before too 🙂 and now I have! WHOO HOO! 🙂

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About me

Joanne T. Ferguson

Passionate Home Cook who tries to inspire one recipe and one event at time!


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