Moroccan Meatball Tagine
A few years ago my husband I decided to go on a bit of an adventure. We’d been living in France for about 8 years and often when we went to Sete (a really lovely port town close to use on the coast) we’d see the ferries docked at the port ready for their departure to Morocco.
The idea of rolling the motorbike onto the port at Sete and rolling it off at a port on the north African coast in Morocco conjured up images of another world.
I fell in love with Mediterranean cuisine many years ago but had only really eaten Moroccan food on my arrival in France. More precisely on a visit to Marseille which has a large Moroccan community. It’s the perfect fusion of the Med mixed in with the Middle East.
This particular dish we ate at a little roadside restaurant in a town called Erfoud on the edge of the Sahara. There wasn’t much choice on the menu and generally we found the menus quite limited in the smaller towns outside the larger tourist centres. It was a slightly cool evening after a rainy day. It rained a lot on this trip. Not ideal when you’re on the back of a motorbike (but, that is a whole other story).
Out came 2 steaming mini tagines with meatballs in a rich tomato sauce which we could eat with couscous or with the pile of flat breads that served with every meal. A tagine is not actually the name of the food, but the name of the dish that any Moroccan stew gets cooked and served in.
This recipe is not an exact replica of the traditional dish, but rather my interpretation. The meatballs (kefta) are cooked in a tomato and red pepper sauce which complements the flavours really well.
Also, because I don’t eat a lot of wheat this is served on a bed of Cabbage couscous
Ingredients (for about 4 people)
750g of mince (beef or lamb) I tend to use half and half
1 onion finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh mint finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 TBS of tagine spices (or a mixture of cinnamon, cumin & tumeric)
1 tin of tomato
350g of preserved red peppers
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
Salt to taste
1 head of cauliflower
1 x small bunch of coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 TBS butter
Salt to taste
- Blitz the tomato and red pepper together in a saucepan with the spices and leave to simmer while you prepare the meatballs.
- Finely slice dice the onion and cut the mint & garlic up finely. Mix together with the mince and spices and press into small meatballs.
- Brown the meatballs off in a frying pan
- Transfer to an oven proof dish with the heated sauce and cook for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees celcius
- Cut up the cauliflower into small florets and place in a food processor and whizz till it’s the texture of couscous
- Place in a sieve over a pan of boiling water and steam for about 5 – 10 minutes till cooked but still crunchy
- Just before the the cauliflower is ready remove the tagine from the oven and break in 4 eggs and put back in the oven
- Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl and mix in the lemon zest, coriander, butter and salt
- Serve a pile of cauliflower with 3 -4 meatballs per person with some sauce and an egg.