Aruk is a collective term for these soft and wonderful Iraqi meatballs. Aruk can be made with beef, chicken, lamb or completely vegetarian- one of the most popular iterations is made with potato and herbs. In this recipe, airy chicken patties are set to simmer in a sea of summer fruit and walnut sauce. You can choose from sweet apricots, nectarines, or plums- you can even sub out the raisins for fresh grapes- each variation is delicious.
As with many traditional dishes, here, too, preparation a day in advance only enhances the flavors.
Ingredients for Chicken Meatballs
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion medium sized, medium dice
- 3 carrots
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- pinch Salt
- 2 cups water
- 8-10 apricots or nectarines or fresh plums pitted and cut into thick slices
- handful raisins dark (or grapes)
For the Meatballs:
- 14 oz (400 grams) chicken breast ground
- 2 potatoes Boiled, peeled and mashed into puree
- 1 bunch parsley chopped fine
- 1 scallions the green part only, chopped
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon paprika sweet or smoked
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- oil for frying
Preparing the Sauce:
1. Heat oil in a large, deep pan or a wide pot, over high heat, and add the onion. Fry for about 7 minutes, until the onion starts to brown. Stir occasionally.
2. Add carrots, sweet and spicy paprika, and tomato paste and continue to fry, while stirring, for about a minute.
3. Add the lemon juice, sugar, salt and water. Stir to mix, bring to a boil and cook, on medium flame, at a gentle simmer while preparing the meatballs.
Meanwhile, prepare the Meatballs:
4. Put the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Form into flat patties the diameter of a tennis ball and about ⅓ inch (1 cm) thick. Heat about a quarter of an inch of oil (about 1/2 cm) in a wide pan. Fry the meatballs for about 2 minutes on each side until they are golden. Remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
5. Transfer meatballs to the pot with the sauce, layering in, and add raisins and fruit. If the sauce does not cover all the meatballs, add water just to cover (and no more - the fruit will release juice while cooking).
6. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until the meatballs are soft and cooked through. Serve hot. Keep in the fridge for 4 days.
This recipe is courtesy of the “The Table” (hashulchan) website.