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Meatballs in a Chickpea Broth-serves 10-12

This is good for a crowd! Serve with some simple baked rice or mashed potato. Dry frying the spices takes less than a minute but adds a completely different dimension to this dish. The flavour is more subtle than if you were to leave the spices whole and untoasted. Trust me!


1.5kg minced beef/lamb

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 egg, beaten well

2 large onions, sliced

2.5 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tins chickpeas, drained & rinsed

1.5 litres  beef stock



  • Have a large baking tray, lined with foil/baking parchment.

  • In a small frying pan, dry fry the coriander and fennel seeds for 1-2 mins or until you can smell their aroma and they begin to jump.

  • Take them out immediately and grind them in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, until they turn into a fine powder.

  • In a large bowl, combine the spices with the meat. Add the egg and season with salt and pepper. Mix until all is combined.

  • Make small meatballs, about 1 inch wide and set them aside. I made 45 balls from this amount!

  • In a large, flat, lidded casserole dish, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil and add the onions and teaspoon of salt. Cook on a low heat to let the onions start to soften. You don't want much colour on these. 

  • After about 5 mins, take the onions out and set aside in a bowl.

  • Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp of oil and add the meatballs to the casserole dish in 2 batches, to ensure that all balls are browned well on all sides. 

  • Take the meatballs out of the dish and put the onions back in. Add the chickpeas and stir well.

  • Now add the garlic and cook slowly on a very low heat for 5 minutes, stirring gently.

  • Add the meatballs back to the pan and pour in the beef stock. 

  • Give it all a good stir and bring it to a simmer. Put the lid on.

  • Simmer for 15-20 mins and check the meatballs are cooked all the way through. It doesn't matter if they're slightly pink in the middle.

  • Serve scattered with finely chopped parsley.

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