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Lamb Meatballs With Cranberries, Yoghurt and Herbs

Meatballs, winter, comfort, warming all all words to describe the flavours of this Middle Eastern inspired dish.

INGREDIENTS

750 g lamb mince

2 medium onions, finely chopped

20 g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3/4 tsp ground allspice

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

60 g cranberries

1 medium free-range egg

100 ml sunflower oil

700 g shallots, peeled

200 ml white wine

500 ml chicken stock

2 bay leaves

2 thyme sprigs

2 tsp sugar

150 g dried figs

200 g Greek yoghurt

3 tbsp of mixed, mint, coriander, tarragon and dill, torn roughly

salt and black pepper.

METHOD

1.  Place the lamb, onions , parsley, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, cranberries, egg, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper in a large bowl.  Mix with your hands and form golf ball sized balls.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

2.  Heat 1/3 of the oil in a large heavy based pot, which needs to have a tight-fitting lid.  Cook meat balls in batches until they are browned all over.  Set aside.  Wipe the pot clean.

3.  Add the remaining oil and cook the shallots on a medium heat for around 10 minutes, stirring frequently , until golden brown.  Add the wine and leave to bubble for a few minutes.  Next add the chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme, sugar and some salt and pepper.

4.  Arrange the figs and meatballs amongst and on top of the shallots;  the meatballs need to be almost covered in liquid.  Bring to the boil, cover with the lid, reduce the heat to very low and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and simmer for about another hour, until the sauce has reduced and intensified in flavour.  Taste and season if necessary.