Sour Cherry and Tamarind Meatballs

Rivka Friedman is a native Washingtonian, back in her home town after stints in Manhattan and Jerusalem. She spends the lion's share of her free time cooking up a storm and making pottery in which to serve said cooking. With whatever time remains, Rivka maintains a food blog, NotDerbyPie, where she catalogs her cooking adventures and posts photos that'll make you hungry.


  • 1 pound ground beef (if lean, add 2 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
  • a couple sprigs of parsley, leaves removed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice divided
  • 3 onions, diced
  • 1 pound sour cherries or 2 cans/jars pitted cherries, including liquid (NOT pie filling!)
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind puree
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, divided

Combine beef, pine nuts, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice in a medium mixing bowl. Using a fork and a light hand, break up ground beef and incorporate other ingredients; do not over‐mix or press too hard, as you want beef to stay light and airy.

In a medium saucepan, sauté meatballs in 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil over medium heat, until lightly browned, turning gently to brown on all sides. Remove meatballs and set aside.

Using the same saucepan, sauté the onions in the remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add liquid from cherries (if fresh, use 1/2 cup water or apple cider instead), lemon juice, tamarind puree, red wine, 1 teaspoon allspice, and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine; bring to a boil. Add meatballs and cherries back into the pan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour, or until sauce has thickened.

Serve hot, either over pita or over saffron rice.