Moroccan Meatball Tajine
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This is a dish I’ve been making for years and am kinda surprised I haven’t ever written about it on Stonesoup. About time! It’s a brilliant example of how using spices can transform a boring old dish (Italian meatballs) into something exotic and super tasty.
Enough for: 2-3
Takes: 40 minutes
450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
125g (5oz) almond meal
2 teaspoons ras el hanout, baharat or ground coriander
1 jar tomato passata or puree (700g / 25oz)
4 tablespoons butter
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked
cauliflower rice, baby spinach or cooked couscous to serve
1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Combine beef and almond meal and your chosen spice in a large bowl. Season generously with salt. Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place in an ovenproof dish.
2. Pour over the tomato passata or puree and top with butter. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or longer until the meatballs are browned on top and cooked through.
3. Serve meatballs on a bed of cauliflower rice, baby spinach or couscous with coriander leaves on top.
to serve with couscous/more substantial – cook couscous according to the packet but add some extra butter.
to serve with cauli rice – grate 1/2 small cauliflower using your food processor or a box grater and serve meatballs on top. No need to cook or warm it.
different accompaniments – great wrapped in lebanese bread, tortillas or other flat bread. Could be served with your favourite pasta.
short on time – Simmer the tajine on the stovetop until the meatballs are just cooked through – about 15 minutes.. You might also like to skip the meatball rolling and just cook the meat more like a bolognese sauce. A third option is to bake meatballs at 250C (480F). Will take about 20 minutes.
different meat – beef is a favourite but lamb is also great. Pork, chicken, turkey or buffalo could all be used.
vegetarian – try adding the spice above some eggplant or to these lentil balls.
more veg – add carrots and peppers to the sauce.
nut-free – replace almond meal with soft bread crumbs or cooked quinoa.
dairy-free – replace butter with lots of extra virgin olive oil.
more substantial (low carb) – serve more meatballs!
different herbs – mint, basil, parsley or baby spinach are all great.
italian meatballs – just skip the spice and serve with basil instead of the coriander.
indian meatballs – use garam masala as your spice and serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
onion – will keep in the pantry for months. Best if in a dark corner in a brown paper bag.
minced (ground) beef – freeze it.
almond meal / ras el hanout, baharat or ground coriander / tomato passata or puree / couscous – keep them in the pantry.
butter – keeps in the fridge for months.
coriander (cilantro) – freeze it in a plastic bag.
cauliflower – ungrated cauli will keep for weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. Can be frozen but the texture isn’t as good when defrosted.