About a month ago I was over at Margaret‘s and she made Moroccan Kefta Tagine. While she and her husband were living in Portugal last year they took at trip to Morocco and learned to make it. It easily serves four, and there were four of us that night. Margaret made it in a tagine, but I do not have one. So, my regular pot had to do. She has experimented with various types of meat for the meatballs and decided that lamb was the best. Because of a fairly recent trip to the U of M Meat Lab, I happened to have a pound of lamb in my freezer. So all I needed to get was some parsley, cilantro, onion and paprika at the grocery store. I already had the rest of the ingredients. It was actually pretty easy to make. It does take a little while because you need to let the tomato sauce thicken.
The eggs on the top are optional. Margaret has chickens, so we had eggs from the girls when I was there. My eggs were the regular ones from the grocery store, so I let them cook a little longer. You typically serve this with crusty bread and scoop up the sauce and meatballs with your bread.
I was quite pleased with myself for trying this and having it turn out so well. I may not cook very often, but when I do, it often works out quite nicely.
Moroccan Kefta Tagine
—– For the Kefta Meatballs —–
- 1 lb. ground beef or lamb (or a combination of the two)
- 1 medium onion, chopped very fine
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
—– For the Tomato Sauce —–
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika or 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- 2 T. olive oil
- 3 or 4 eggs (optional)
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in the base of a tagine or in a large, deep skillet. Cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (Note: If using a tagine, place a diffuser between the tagine and burner, and allow 10 to 15 minutes for the tomato sauce to reach a simmer.)
Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low, just enough heat to maintain the simmer but low enough to avoid scorching. Allow the tomatoes to cook for at least 15 to 20 minutes before adding the meatballs.
Combine all of the kefta ingredients, using your hands to knead in the spices and herbs. Shape the kefta mixture into very small meatballs the size of large cherries – about 1 inch in diameter.
Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce, along with a little water – 1/4 cup is usually sufficient – and cover. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.
Break the eggs over the top of the meatballs, and cover. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until the egg whites are solid and the yolks are partially set. Serve immediately.
This meal is traditionally served from the same dish in which it was prepared, with each person using pieces of crusty bread for scooping up the meatballs from his own side of the dish.