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Cherry-Pomegranate Meatballs

Many of my favorite meatball dishes have influenced this recipe, from reindeer meatballs in Iceland to albóndigas in Madrid.


1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
4 tbsp unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Tabasco sauce, to taste
salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 bottle dry red wine, preferably Tempranillo
4 tbsp crushed tomatoes
1 cup pineapple juice (keep a little extra on hand)
2 cups pomegranate juice
16 fresh cherries
2 tbsp soy sauce (Silver Swan brand from the Philippines is best; it's
available in Asian grocery stores)
1 tbsp sugar

Sauté onions in olive oil until soft. Set aside.

Wait for the onions to cool. Knead together ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, a few dashes of Tabasco sauce, salt & pepper, and the sautéed onions. Roll into meatballs 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Brown meatballs in a sauté pan. Drain off the fat.

Pour bottle of wine and pineapple juice into a saucepan. Add meatballs and bring to a boil. Add soy sauce, sugar, and crushed tomatoes. Simmer with the lid off. Add half of the pomegranate juice. Add dash of salt and a dash of Tabasco sauce.

If there is fat floating on the surface, carefully sop it up with a paper towel.

Check every half hour to see if sauce is too thick and meatballs are too exposed. If so, add more pineapple juice and stir carefully.

After meatballs have been simmering for two hours, add rest of the pomegranate juice. Carefully stir the meatballs around. Add the cherries. Simmer a half hour more. Sauce should be a little thick.

Serve with bread for dipping. Serves 4.

Tip: These meatballs always get better the second day. If the sauce becomes too thick when reheating, just add a splash of pineapple juice, pomegranate juice, or water, depending on your preference.

Recipe archive

©2011 Darrin DuFord