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Ground Lamb Dumplings with Pistachio and Pomegranate

This recipe creates juicy and flavorful meatballs delicately displayed in wonton wrappers and baked in pomegranate juice. It can be served as a an appetizer or a main dish. It’s one of my new “favorite” recipes and is something I will definitely add to my regular repertoire.

This recipe did not end up the way I initially intended. I originally was trying to create an Italian fusion dish using the Armenian method of wrapping Manti (dumplings) with homemade dumpling wrappers and my meatball recipe. I cooked it in beef broth as per the Armenian method. It was doughy and weird (although pretty). So, I switched out the homemade dumpling pasta for premade wonton wrappers that I bought at a local Asian store. Not only was it less doughy, it was also A LOT easier. Next I switched out my meatball recipe for something with more of a Persian flare – lamb meatballs made with ground pistachios. Then I changed the beef broth out for pomegranate juice because why not? It was sure to add a little sweetness. The final creation was beyond delicious and beautiful. It was a tasty mosaic of Persian and Armenian flavors and textures.

As per usual, it’s easy to make. Just know you need about 10 minutes to wrap the dumplings. (You could easily make this without the wonton wrappers and serve as an appetizer with little wooden skewers.)

I used a shallow serving dish that was oven proof to bake the dumplings in, but any oven proof dish will work.

First you need grind your pistachios. This was easily accomplished in my small food processor. You will need 1/2 cup of ground pistachios when your done, plus some chopped ones for garnish.

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Now you need to do a little chopping. Alternatively, you could place all this in your food processor, but I like to see the individual ingredients in my meatballs so I chop by hand. You need to finely chop 1/2 an onion, then chop the herbs – cilantro, tarragon and parsley.

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In a large bowl mix the ground lamb, finely chopped onion, ground pistachios, bread crumbs, cilantro, parsley, tarragon, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, black pepper, sea salt, cumin, and egg. Mix together well using your hands. This is your meatball mix.

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Grease your oven proof dish.

Now create the open faced dumplings. Take a wonton wrapper and place a walnut sized meatball in the center. Dip your finger in a bowl of water and use it to wet the edges of the wonton wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half to form a rectangle, but only seal the side edges leaving the top open. Then seal the outside edges of the top to form a “kayak” shaped dumpling (open in the middle so you can see the lamb meatball).

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Place the dumplings in a symmetric pattern in the greased, oven proof dish.

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Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove from oven and drizzle 1 cup of pomegranate juice over the meatballs. Placed sliced butter evenly over dumplings. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-17 minutes (or until meatballs cooked through).

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Mix together 1 cup of plain yogurt with 1 tbsp. of lemon juice. Add sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

Garnish the dumplings with pomegranate arils and chopped pistachios. Drizzle some of the yogurt sauce overtop and put the rest on the side for dipping. Enjoy!

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Ground Lamb Dumplings with Pistachio and Pomegranate

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup ground pistachios
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh tarragon chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh flat parsley chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pkg wonton wrappers
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 3 tbsp sliced butter
Garnish:
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 3-4 tbsp pomegranate arils
Sauce:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Grind your pistachios in a food processor. 

  2. Chop the onion, tarragon, parsley and cilantro.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the ground lamb, pistachios, onions, herbs, lemon juice, bread crumbs, red pepper flakes, sea salt, cracked black pepper, cumin and egg. This is your meatball mixture.

  4. Form walnut sized meatballs and place in the center of the wonton wrapper.

  5. Dip a finger in a bowl of water and wet the edges of the wrapper.

  6. Fold wrapper in half, into a rectangle.

  7. Seal sides.

  8. Seal top edges leaving the middle open to expose the meatball. The dumpling should look like a kayak.

  9. Grease your oven proof dish. A round dish is best, but any casserole dish will work. Arrange dumplings in dish in a geometric pattern.

  10. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

  11. Remove from oven and drizzle pomegranate juice over the meatballs. Top with sliced butter. Place back in the oven for another 15-17 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

  12. Mix together the sauce ingredients.

  13. Garnish dumplings with chopped pistachios, pomegranate arils. Drizzle some of the sauce overtop and save the rest for dipping.