barberry turkey meatballs in saffron tomato sauce

barberry turkey meatballs in saffron tomato sauce

Literal flavour bombs! These are delicious with our jeweled rice (we omit the barberries from the rice when we serve them together), but they also go incredibly well with simple potato mash, or just some crusty baguette. This recipe would also work with chicken or beef mince, however, we advise against beef, since the somewhat bland flavour of chicken and turkey really allow the herbs and spices to shine.

 Best served piping hot and straight from the pan! ENJOY!xx



Serves 4

For the meatballs: 
500 g turkey mince (we prefer to make our own, for this we use 400 thighs and 100g breast)
1 medium egg
Small bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
Small bunch fresh chives, snipped
Small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
100 g pine nuts
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 onion, finely chopped
120 g barberries
Olive oil for frying

For the saffron tomato sauce
1 onion, sliced into thin half moons
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp of saffron to make 2 tbsp saffron essence (see cooks note at the end of recipe)
salt and pepper to taste

For the tarragon yoghurt:
150 g greek yoghurt
Small bunch tarragon, finely chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan). Spread the pine nuts evenly on a baking tray, then roast for 5-10 minutes (shaking occasionally) until evenly golden. Set aside to cool. Keep the oven running. 

2. Gently whisk the egg. In a mixing bowl, combine the minced turkey with the herbsspices, onion, roasted pine nuts, barberries, whisked egg and salt and pepper to taste, making sure everything evenly combined. Shape the mixture into small balls, approximately 6 cm in diameter. 

3. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of an ovenproof frying pan or shallow casserole and heat over a medium to high heat. Brown the meatballs in the oil until evenly golden, then set aside on some kitchen paper. 

4. Allow the oil to cool slightly, then add the onions with a healthy pinch of salt and cook until softened. Add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, sugar, garlic and saffron essence with 200 ml of water and cook until the sauce has reduced by half. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper

5. In the meantime make the yoghurt: combine the yoghurt with the finely chopped tarragon and season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve. 

6. Once you're happy with the consistency of the sauce, add the meatballs back in and finish off cooking in the oven for around 10-15 minutes. 

7. Serve the meatballs directly from the pan and enjoy with a generous tablespoon of tarragon yoghurt

Cooks note: to make saffron essence use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron into a super fine powder (adding a pinch of salt to the mortar will help this along), pour over 50 ml of just boiled water and cool.