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

photos by Rebecca Crawford

serves 4.


For the meatballs: 
500 g turkey or chicken mince (we prefer to make our own)
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
50 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 minutes (shaking occasionally) until evenly golden. Set aside to cool. Keep the oven running. 

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the minced meat with the herbsspicesonion, roasted pine nuts, barberries, egg and salt and pepper to taste, making sure that everything is evenly combined. Shape the mixture into small balls, approximately 6 cm in diameter. If the mixture is too wet you can add 2-3 tbsp of breadcrumbs.

3. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to an ovenproof frying pan or shallow casserole and place on high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the meatballs until evenly golden, then set aside on some kitchen paper. 

4. Turn the heat down to medium, then add the onions with a healthy pinch of salt and cook until softened. Add the tomato puréechopped tomatoessugargarlic and saffron essence with 100 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 15-20 minutes. 

7. Serve the meatballs directly from the pan and enjoy with a generous tablespoon of tarragon yoghurt and some steamed basmati rice or salad. 

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 2tbsp of just boiled water and cool.