Moroccan Meatball with Quinoa

Moroccan Meatballs with Quinoa

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Serves 4

We went to Marrakech once , 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.

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Ingredients;

1 lb. lean ground lamb or beef

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

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Method;

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.

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For the Quinoa;

1 cup (dry) quinoa

2 c. chicken or beef 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

ground pepper

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.

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Not quite what you’re looking for? How about these  Meat Balls ?

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Greek Lamb Souvlaki, mashed Garlicky Cannelini beans and Tzaziki

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Delicious lamb skewers, perfect for any occasion.

Makes about 8 – 10 Skewers

Ingredients Lamb Souvlaki;

2 lbs. lamb, cubed,  cut from leg or shoulder

5 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, grated

1/4 tsp. Chili flakes

1/2 lemon (juice)

1 tbsp. fresh Oregano, or 2 tsp. dried

1 tbsp. fresh Thyme, leafs only, or 2 tsp. dried

1/2 tsp.dried mint (dried works better than fresh in this case)

1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper

10 metal or wooden skewers (soak wooden)

Ingredients Tzaziki sauce;

1 cucumber

1 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 of a cup extra virgin olive oilIMG_1280

18 oz. thick Greek yogurt

a squeeze of lemon juice

a pinch of salt

Ingredients Garlicky Bean mash ;

2 cans of white beans

1 tbsp. + 2 tbsp. olive oil (separate use)

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine

5 garlic cloves, peeled

1 sprig of rosemary

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. chicken stock powder

Method for the Lamb Kebabs;

Prepare the marinade for the lamb Souvlaki. Soak the skewers if they are wooden to prevent burning.

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients without the salt! Adding the salt at this stage would result in dry meat as it will extract the moisture from the lamb.

Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate overnight for the best result. If you are in a hurry, just marinate while you prepare your coals.

Remove the lamb from the marinade and thread the pieces onto your wooden or metal skewers. Season the lamb generously with salt just before grilling.

When the coals are covered in a thin layer of grey ash, it’s time to grill. Make sure there are no flames. Grill the lamb for about 4-5 minutes, (depending on how big you’ve cut the cubes), turning to grill evenly.

Put pita bread or flat bread on the bbq to heat up for a minute or two.

Serve with a Greek Salad and  Tzaziki

Method for Tzaziki:

Remove the skin and the seeds of the cucumber and grate it into a large bowl. Season with salt and leave aside for 10 minutes.

Wrap the grated cucumber in a towel and squeeze as hard as you can to remove the liquid. Place the cucumber in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Leave to chill for a while in the fridge if you can. Left overs must be stored in the fridge.

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Method for Garlicky Bean Mash;

Start by frying 4 garlic slices for decorating the bean mash.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a little saucepan. Peel and slice the cloves of garlic in thin slices.

Fry gently in the oil until golden. Be careful not to burn them as they will taste very bitter. It should take about 3  minutes on medium heat. Remove from oil and transfer to kitchen paper to drain. Pour the oil into a little bowl and reserve. We will add this to the mash later.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan a gently fry the onion until golden, about four minutes. Add the sprig of rosemary and the remaining garlic. Fry for another minute before adding the cumin and the drained beans. Cook the beans for about 10 minutes adding a little water if necessary. Remove from heat. Also remove the rosemary. Transfer to food processor. Process until the mash is smooth. Add one tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of the reserved garlic infused oil. Return to pan to heat up gently if necessary. Put in a bowl and drizzle with some of the remaining oil and scatter over the fried garlic slices. Serve immediately.

Enjoy

Myra Xo

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Not quite what you’re looking for? How about this Skewered Chicken Ras el Hanout on home made Flatbread with Sun dried Tomato Hummus and Garlic Dill Yoghurt dip.

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