Festive Lamb Pilaff Festive Lamb Pilaff

Festive Lamb Pilaff

A festive lamb mince dish for the family. Meatballs flavoured with spices and ginger served with a rice pilaf jewelled with pistachio nuts and cranberries.

prep time
20 mins

cook time
20 minutes

6 people


  • For the Meatballs:

  • 675g/1½lb lean lamb mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5-10ml/1-2tsp ground cumin
  • 10ml/2tsp ground coriander
  • 5-10ml/1-2tsp ground paprika
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 2.5cm/1inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • For the Pilaff:

  • 30ml/2tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 x 5cm/2inch piece cinnamon stick, halved
  • 5ml/1tsp garam masala
  • 400g/14oz Basmati or long grain white rice
  • 750ml/1¼pint good, hot lamb or chicken stock
  • 30ml/2tbsp pistachio nuts or toasted flaked almonds
  • 30ml/2tbsp dried cranberries or sultanas
  • 45ml/3tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish


  1. To prepare the meatballs; in a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. Shape the mixture into small balls the size of walnuts, transfer to a large plate, cover and refrigerate until required.
  2. For the pilaff; heat half the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and cook the onion until soft and slightly coloured. Add the spices and stir in the rice. Add the stock, season, bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  3. Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan and cook the meatballs in batches for 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally until brown and cooked through.
  4. Gently add the pistachio nuts or flaked almonds, cranberries or sultanas and parsley and stir through the rice. Drain the meatballs on absorbent kitchen paper and position over the pilaff.
  5. Serve immediately.