Meatball tagine

Another great recipe from the Food of Morocco cook book. This was Saturday evening’s dinner. It’s lovely and meaty and full of flavours from the herbs and spices. It can also be quite spicy, depending upon how much harissa paste you use. The recipe here serves 4 but I scaled it down slightly to serve 2.

Serves 4

For the meatballs

700g lamb mince

1 small brown onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of coriander, finely chopped

½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of paprika

Olive oil

1 egg per person

For the sauce:

Olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoon of ground cumin

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of paprika

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons of harrisa paste

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves

Place the lamb mince, onion, garlic, herbs and spices in a bowl and mix really well. (I always find this bit frustrating when making meatballs as no matter how finely I chop the onion it’s never fine enough to mix in easily. Ah well, it just means that the balls are a bit rougher!)

Season with salt and pepper and form the mixture into balls. (about a tablespoon of mixture gives the right size of balls.)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the meatballs for about 8 minutes until browned all over, turning occasionally.

Remove from the frying  pan and set aside.

Heat more oil in the frying pan and start making the sauce – add the onion and fry for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft.

Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon and paprika and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Stir in the tomatoes and harissa paste and bring to the boil.

At this point I deviate slightly from the recipe as I use my tagine and continue to cook the dish in the oven.

The recipe says to simmer this on the hob for 20 minutes. What I do is move the sauce to the tagine and pop the whole tagine in a pre-heated (to 200) oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.

After 20 minutes return the meatballs to the sauce, re-cover and cook for a further 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the chopped coriander and then carefully break the eggs over the top. (I usually arrange the meatballs into little groups of three to support each egg. I use one egg per person.)

Leave uncovered and then cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the eggs are just set.

Season and serve with cous-cous and/or crusty bread. (I served it with a delicious garlic flatbread.)



About neilche

Hi. My name's Neil. I live in Brighton with my flatmate (also Neil) and I work as a Librarian at a local college. I like cooking, eating and socialising with friends. Which is what prompted me to start this blog. I cycle everywhere around town - it helps to work off the calories!
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