1 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1 1/2 cups shelled, roasted, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
Leaves from 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups packed)
Leaves from 1 small bunch tarragon (1/2 cup loosely packed)
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime (1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 pounds ground chicken breast
1 large egg
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
3/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup agave
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. Combine the onion, pistachios, bread crumbs, parsley, tarragon, lime juice, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, cumin and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to form a grainy paste.
2. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
3. Add the ground chicken and egg; use clean, damp hands to knead the mixture for a few minutes, being careful not to overmix.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
5. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Use cooking spray butter on a wide, nonreactive baking dish.
6. Shape the meatball mixture into 30 to 45 bite-size balls (about 1 1/2 teaspoons each). Place the meatballs in the baking dish leaving space in between.
7. Bake for 10 minutes; the meatballs might look a little pink.
1. Meanwhile, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, agave, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes in a mixing bowl.
2. Taste the glaze and be sure that it has a good balance between sweet and sour; add agave if the pomegranate molasses you have used is too sour.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Pour the glaze evenly over the meatballs; bake for 5 minutes to infuse them with the flavor of the pomegranate.
4. Taste the glaze again; add honey or pomegranate molasses as needed to balance the flavors. The meatballs should be cooked through. Reduce the oven to 250 degrees to keep the meatballs warm until ready to serve.
Adapted from “Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies, 25th Anniversary Edition,” by Najmieh Batmanglij (Mage, 2011).