Travels: Moroccan Meatballs

February 6, 2013

Meatball Tagine with Egg

I just got back from visiting the lands of one of my favorite cuisines, Morocco. I love the wealth of spices nearly every Moroccan dish contains, so of course I fell in love with my Food of Morocco cookbook long ago. I was very excited to find that the foods I ate there proved the recipes I had cooked over the years true to the cuisine. Of course, it was a bit better there (an understatement!), with the super-fresh spices abounding from shop after shop after shop.

Moroccan meatballs are something I had cooked previous to owning my cookbook, however, and have long been a favorite of mine. I’ve tried the addition of egg on occasion, and it makes for an über-rich and decadent dinner. This was hands down my favorite meal the entire time we were in Morocco.

We stayed in the beautiful Riad Kaïss in the heart of Marrakech, just inside the old medina and near the main square. The riad had a very relaxed vibe, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner wherever your heart desired – a gorgeously decorated dining room with a crackling fire and lounging couches, or the terraces of the building, under the warm sun, with views of the Atlas Mountains and the rooftops of Marrakech. February in Marrakech can get a bit chilly, so we opted to dine in the living room at night, enjoying the scent and warmth of the fire.

The company
My company couldn’t be better!

Lentil Salad

Dinner this night started with a lentil salad, which was flavored with a bit of mint, parsley, olive oil, and I’m certain some other hints of spice. It was very mild, letting the taste of the olive oil and lentil shine through.

Mousse au Chocolat

After the main course, we finished with a rich chocolate mousse, which had the slightest hint of Moroccan orange flavor shining through. The mousse was thick, yet still stayed light on the tongue.

Now that I’m back in London, I’m dreaming of the wonderful flavors and spices we experienced in Marrakech, drooling over the food photos I’ve yet to post. These meatballs might need to be made soon. As you can see, I quite enjoyed the meatballs… not much was left on the plate!

Check out the other goodies I discovered while in Morocco on the Daily Nosh, tag Morocco.

Apparently not good at all...

Moroccan Meatballs, Courtney-style
Serves 2 to 3 as a meal, or 4 to 6 as an appetizer

1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon each ground cumin, paprika, white pepper, cayenne pepper, black pepper, dried parsley, and sea salt
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 cans crushed tomatoes (or fresh, if in season)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt to taste
French bread for serving

In a bowl, mix together the onion, parsley, spices, and ground beef. Make 1 inch balls with your hands.

Pour olive oil in the bottom of a pan and brown the meatballs in batches, setting them to the side on a plate as you finish the batches.

After the last meatballs have been browned, add the tomatoes with their juices to the pan and bring to a low boil. Add the meatballs back to the pan, cover, and cook until the tomatoes have absorbed some of the seasoning and the meatballs have cooked through. Taste tomato, and add salt & pepper if needed.

Serve hot in a shared bowl, with crusty French bread on the side to sop up the tomato sauce and the meatballs.

Note: If you want to add the eggs, you can simply create little holes in the tomato and meatball mixture about 10 minutes after adding the meatballs. Drop the egg into the hole, sprinkle with a little salt, recover the pan, and let the eggs cook as the meatballs finish. The yolks should still be nice and runny, similar to a fried or poached egg.

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