Moroccan Lamb Meatballs

My idea of Moroccan food is about as vague as someone’s idea of Italian food being just pizza and Bolognese pasta.

Prior to watching Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast, I had no real idea what Moroccan food comprises of. To be honest, until I pay a visit to Morocco, I probably still won’t have a great idea of what true Moroccan food is. That doesn’t stop me from experimenting though!

This recipe is one of my favourite lamb dishes. Flavourful, juicy meatballs balanced with a lovely tomato base sauce. It’s great when you’re after a meaty dish that is not grossly meaty. Best of all, it’s much simpler than it looks. Whilst I cannot validate the authenticity of this dish, this meal will not disappoint. For all I know, it is probably the equivalent of a white person’s Chicken Chow Mien.

Quick pointer, if you’re not a fan of quinoa or simply cannot be bothered with the extra work involved, feel free to use cous cous instead.

Total time: Under 1 hour
Serves: 2-4

500g lamb mince
1 egg
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 seasoning mix
1 tbsp chopped coriander

Sauce base
2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
200ml chicken stock
1/2 seasoning mix
1 tbsp chopped coriander

Seasoning mix
2 garlic cloves
2 cm chunk of ginger
A pinch of drier chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. To make meatballs, combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl. Mix and form little meatballs, around 25-30.
2. Heat 1-2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan. Add meatballs in batches, frying until nicely browned all over. Remove and set aside meatballs.
3. In the same pan, add remaining seasoning mix and fry until fragrant, roughly 2-3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and season with salt to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes before adding meatballs. Continue simmering until sauce is thickened.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or chicken/vegetable stock
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
6-8 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 small red or yellow pepper
1 tbsp chopped coriander & parsley
Pinch of salt and pepper
Good squeeze of lemon juice

1. Firstly, rinse and soak quinoa for 2 minutes in cold water before draining. This ensures your quinoa is not bitter. Strain the water off.
2. In a pot over low to medium heat, add double the amount of liquid to the amount quinoa. Cook until liquid is completely absorbed which takes approximately 15-30 minutes. Stir every so often. When cooked, set aside to cool before adding finely chopped up vegetables, coriander and seasoning.
3. Serve with meatballs and enjoy!


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