Russell Blaikie’s Baharat-spiced lamb meatballs

Baharat Meatballs

Baharat-spiced lamb meatballs. Photograph by Craig Kinder

This recipe is from Russell Blaikie’s recently released cookbook Must Eat (Read The Food Sage’s book review). Blaikie is the chef extraordinaire behind the Must wine bars in Perth and Margaret River.

Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice mix and the perfect partner for lamb. Blaikie recommends using lean lamb, and to moisten the breadcrumbs with wine before combining them into the mix – which ‘lightens’ the meatballs.

To all  meatball lovers out there, this Baharat-inspired recipe creates spice-packed mouth-bombs that are difficult to resist. The recipe makes 30 … what a shame!

250 g finely chopped onion
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
10 g baharat spice mix (go to end of recipe for directions)
120 g tomato paste
60 g breadcrumbs
100 ml white wine
1 kg lamb mince
1 egg
20 g sea salt

100 g finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
60 g tomato paste
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1.25 litres tomato purée
teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
sea salt & freshly
ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 210°C.

Place the chopped onion and oil in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring regularly until the onion softens and becomes a rich golden brown. If the onion becomes dry or catches on the bottom of the pan, moisten with a little water.

Add the garlic, cayenne and baharat to the onion, and cook for a further 3 minutes, then add the tomato paste, cook for 2 minutes and cool.

Tip the breadcrumbs into a bowl and moisten with the white wine. Add the caramelised onion mix, lamb mince, egg and salt, then mix well to combine.

Scoop a tablespoon of the mix into your hand, roll into a round ball and place onto an oven tray lined with baking paper; repeat until you have rolled all of the mix.

Place the meatballs into the oven and cook for 8 to 10 minutes (break one in half to check that they are just cooked through).

Once cooked, remove from the oven and place in a large casserole dish. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C.

To make the sauce, place the onion, garlic and oil into a large saucepan over low-medium heat to sweat for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook while stirring for a further 2 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients except for salt and pepper, increase heat to medium-high and cook for 30 minutes.

Season and pour over the cooked meatballs.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until heated through.

30 g ground black pepper
6 g cardamom powder
30 g cinnamon powder
8 g clove powder
18 g coriander powder
30 g cumin powder
18 g nutmeg powder
30 g paprika powder

MAKES 170 g

Sift the spices into a large bowl, mix well and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Before using, roast the mix in a 180°C oven for 1 to 2 minutes to release the flavours.

Readers may also like:
Must Eat

Must Eat by Russell Blaikie

Must Eat by Russell Blaikie



Filed under Book Reviews

4 responses to “Russell Blaikie’s Baharat-spiced lamb meatballs

  1. We fought over them last night! A tried and tested recipe by The Food Sage, who has the stomach rolls to show for it today! If you make them, share your thoughts!


  2. Mel

    Invite me over next time!!! Read the book review and the Polenta bites sound amazing as well! Would the meatballs and the polenta bites work at room temperature at all for a picnic?


    • They are seriously good, i am telling you. Both the meatballs and the polenta bites (the latter are a bit smelly as they’re being deep-fried – dog-poo-shoe checks were done in my kitchen!) – but one of the best snacks i’ve had for some time.
      I reckon the meatballs would still be good if they were luke warmish (cook’em wrap them in foil and take to picnic). Not sure about the polenta bites, though. They might loose the oozy-gooey-cheesiness. I will definitely invite you over next time i make them – the recipe makes about 30. That’s 15 each right? (Who mentioned inviting the men?!)


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