Moroccan meatballs (Daring Cooks challenge)

Moroccan meatballs with chickpeas a great way to spice up dinner

The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is! Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs from around the world and to create our own meatball meal celebrating a culture or cuisine of our own choice.

This was a fun and interesting challenge. I have my fair share of meatball recipes that we enjoy, like kofta and  dawood basha (please excuse the old pictures,they are great recipes but with very old pictures) but after seeing all the creative recipes my fellow daring cooks posted today, I have a list that is a mile long full of new and creative meatball recipes that I can’t wait to try.

For this month’s challenge, I made two meatball recipes, Chicken meatballs with peanut butter sauce and Moroccan meatballs with chickpeas and tomato sauce.

chickenmeatballs with sweet peanut butter sauce

I usually make these Moroccan meatballs in a regular pot and they work perfectly that way. This ,however,  was my first time using the tagine you see in the picture, it’s a gift from mom and I was a little freaked out that it will crack or break but it didn’t 🙂 A tajine or tagine is a traditional pot used in North Africa . The tajine pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides and a large cone or dome shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. The cover is designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving. Tajines now considered one of the trademarks or Moroccan cuisine. You can always use the tagine as a serving dish but cooking in it is a totally different experience and the resulting taste is amazing.

These meatballs are spicy but not overly so, they are perfectly balanced by the creamy chickpeas and the slight tang and spice notes in the tomato sauce. Serve them on a bed of couscous, top with crunchy nutty almonds and sprinkle with a dose of refreshing parsley and they are your taste bud’s ticket to a whole new world.

Thank you Shelley and Ruth for a wonderful and tasty challenge.

Morrocan meatballs, a great way to spice up dinner

Moroccan Meatball Tagine

Meatballs

300 g minced beef or lamb

1 onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic minced

3/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Sauce

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion cut into thin strips

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

2 cans chickpeas

4 cups crushed tomatoes (I usually peel the tomatoes and pulse them in the blender but you can use canned)

2 cups water

Couscous

2 cups couscous

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups boiling water or chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

Decoration

Almonds

Chopped parsley

  • To make the meatballs

  • Put the meat, onion,garlic, spices and parsley in a bowl and  mix well. (you can do this by hand or using your food processor)
  •  Form the mix into balls, the size is up to you
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick  pan or in your tajine and add the meatballs in batches, frying  until browned all over. Scoop out
  • To make the sauce

  • Add  the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and use them to saute the onions.
  • Add the tomatoes and  water and season.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes,  then add back the meatballs and cook for  another 10 minutes then add the chickpeas and continue cooking for 10 more minutes or until sauce is thickened.
  • To make the couscous

  •  Put the couscous in a bowl with the butter.
  • Pour over  the boiling water or chicken stock and cover with cling film.
  • Leave for 10 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork

Morrocan meatballs with couscous

Notes

  • You can use a tagine in a slow oven or place it on a gas or electric stove top. Use the lowest heat necessary to keep the stew simmering gently. A diffuser – a circular piece of aluminum placed between the tagine and burner – is highly recommended to buffer and more evenly distribute the stove’s heat.
  • One of my wonderful readers pointed out that traditionally the Moroccan meatball tagine does not include the chickpeas and the couscous is usually a stand alone dish in Morocco rather than a side dish. I promised to add both notes to the post for authenticity
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