Persian pomegranate soup with meatballs

Yield: 6 servings

Measure Ingredient
1 pounds Lean ground lamb
2 mediums Onion(s), grated on
Coarse holes of box grater
¼ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Ground allspice
Salt and pepper
1 cup Long-grain rice
2 cups Sour pomegranate juice *
¼ pounds Spinach
Large stems removed
Leaves cut in 1" strips
½ cup Parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Sugar
3 tablespoons Dried spearmint
2 Limes, cut in wedges
Warm pita bread
For serving

* Middle eastern groceries sell pomegranate syrup, also called pomegranate molasses. In recipes calling for sour pomegranate juice, dilute 1 tbs pomegranate syrup in 1 cup of warm water. Or use sweet pomegranate juice, available at health food stores, soured with 1 tbs strained fresh lemon or lime juice per cup of pomegranate juice.

1. In a large bowl, combine the lamb with the onions, cinnamon, allspice, and ½ tsp each of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands. Roll teaspoons of the meat mixture into firm balls and place on a lightly oiled platter; you will have about 50 meatball.

Can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 1 week.

2. Pour 10 cups of cold water into a large saucepan. Add 1½ tsp salt and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and return to a boil.

Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 5 min. Stir in the sour pomegranate juice, spinach, parsley, sugar, and the meatballs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, partially covered, until the rice is tender and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 min.

3. Rub the mint between your fingers to form a fine powder. In a small bowl, combine the mint with 1 tsp each of salt and pepper.

4. Ladle the soup into large bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of the mint mixture. Serve the remaining mint on the side, along with the lime wedge and pita bread.

Food and Wine

December 1995

Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 12-22-95

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