Chicken and Pistachio Meatballs with Pomegranate

From Matthew Altizer

March/April issue

Without the pomegranate glaze, these meatballs could easily be skewered and grilled, or used as a stuffing for roasted vegetables


  • 1 small onion, finely grated
  • 1-1/2 c. shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped in a food processor
  • 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch tarragon, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 t. Marash chile flakes*
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 T. cumin, toasted and ground
  • 2 lbs. ground chicken thigh meat
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c. melted butter or ghee
  • 3/4 c. pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 2 T. harissa
  • 1/2 c. fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 c. chopped pistachios to garnish


Preheat oven to 500°F. In a large bowl, combine the onion, pistachios, breadcrumbs, parsley, tarragon, lime juice, chile flakes, pepper, cumin, chicken meat and salt. Mix well and add the egg, kneading the mixture until it is completely combined but not over mixed. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with some of the butter. Form the meat into 30 to 45 meatballs, using about 2 teaspoons of mixture for each meatball. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and toss them around lightly to cover them in butter. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes, or until they are crispy on the outside and barely cooked.

Meanwhile, make the pomegranate glaze by whisking the pomegranate molasses, honey and harissa together. Season with salt and taste the glaze for seasoning – it should be a perfect balance of spicy, sour, salty and sweet. Take the meatballs out of the oven and drizzle them with the pomegranate glaze, shaking the pan lightly to coat the meatballs. Put the meatballs back in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the glaze starts to stick to the meatballs. Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish and garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios. Makes 30-45 meatballs.