I once flew to morocco with friends in a Cessna 200. It was a little scary but so much fun. The man who owned the aircraft was a German diplomat and he had just bought a house thru my mothers real estate company in Spain.
I don’t really know why we were invited I just said yes straight away in case he changed his mind.
I was even allowed to sit in the co pilots seat for a little while and got to fly for about two minutes until we were so off course I was asked to sit in the back again, Oops.
We went to Marrakech, and the food, the market, the people, the smell…….was so enchanting like nothing else I had ever seen before. I fell in love instantly with the sweet and savoury cuisine.
I have been making these meatballs ever since. I make a lot of other Moroccan dishes too but this one is by far the quickest and easiest, but it still gets you to the 1001 Arabian Nights atmosphere.
1 lb. lean ground lamb
1 onion peeled and chopped fine
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
1 tsp. himalayan salt or regular
ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
1/4 C. (home made ) dried breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. Ras el Hanout , see Ras el Hanout. for spice mix recipe
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground dried ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. fresh chopped coriander plus 1 tbsp. for serving
3 tbsp. chopped pistachios (dry toasted briefly in a pan). Reserve one tablespoon to sprinkle over before serving.
4 dried apricots chopped
For the sauce;
1 tbsp. tomato puree
1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes, or 5 to 6 fresh ones chopped
1 tsp. beef stock powder
1 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. orange juice plus 5 tbsp water to make 1/2 cup in total
In a large frying pan add 1 tbsp. of the oil and cook the onion and garlic gently for about 5 minutes on medium low heat until slightly beginning to turn golden. Add all the spices and remove from the heat to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, add the minced meat the onion and spice mix, the breadcrumbs, egg yolk, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. pistachios, chopped coriander and apricots. Mix with your hands and form into golf ball sized meatballs.
Wipe your frying pan and add the remaining oil. Set heat on medium high. Fry all the meatballs until nicely browned all over and remove to a plate. Work in batches if necessary.
Once you have cooked all the meatballs. Start making the sauce in the same frying pan with the remaining oil in it and add the tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, add the meatball back to the pan and simmer with the lid half on the pan, for about twenty minutes.
Meanwhile make the Quinoa.
For the Quinoa;
1 cup (dry) quinoa
2 c. chicken stock
2 tbsp. chopped pistachios (dry toasted briefly in a pan)
1 c. chickpeas drained
6 dates, stone removed and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. chopped coriander
Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under running water. This is to remove the saponins that taste very bitter.
Did you know that saponins are for protection against insects?
Put quinoa to a medium saucepan. Add the stock, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and add the dates, carrot, garlic powder, chickpeas and pepper. Just before serving add the coriander and the pistachios.
Note: some quinoa only takes ten minutes to cook, so check the package instructions!!!
To serve place the quinoa on one side of a large platter, the meatballs and sauce on the other side. Sprinkle with more pistachios and chopped coriander.
Not quite what you’re looking for? How about these Meat Balls ?