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25 July 2015

Moroccan Style Meatballs

Photo: © childsdesign

These spicy meatballs are delicious and really simple to make. To get the best results you do need to get in there with you hands when you mix all the meatball ingredients together. You will end up with yellow fingers because of the turmeric in the Ras El Hanout but it's worth it!
The addition of semolina rather than breadcrumbs helps to bind everything together as well as adding a slight nuttiness.

Unlike most meatballs in sauce recipes there is no need to fry them first. They are just dropped straight into the sauce and simmered slowly – this releases their flavour into the sauce and everything becomes wonderfully infused, rich and delicious.

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the meatballs:
  • half an onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • handful mint leaves
  • 250g beef or lamb mince
  • a good pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp semolina
  • 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout Spice Blend*

For the sauce
  • half an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 400g tin tomatoes
  • ½ tsp paprika*
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • handful flat-leaved parsley, chopped

Put the onion, garlic and mint leaves into a small food processor and chop until fine.
Put the mince into a bowl, add the onion mixture, salt, semolina and Ras El Hanout and mix together using your hands making sure everything is well combined.

Form the mince mixture into small ping-pong ball sized balls by rolling in the palms of your hands. Put the meatballs on a plate in the fridge to set up.

Make the sauce by heating the oil in a frying pan and gently frying the onion until soft and slightly gold. Tip in the tomatoes and their juice and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add the paprika, sugar, salt and pepper, stir in and simmer the sauce gently until reduced slightly.

Put the meatballs into the sauce and turn them occasionally but gently as the sauce simmers. Cook the meatballs for about 20 minutes. They should be piping hot and cooked all the way through.
Lastly stir in the chopped parsley.

Serve with rice or couscous.

* Notes on ingredients                                                                                            
Ras El Hanout is a spice blend originating from Morocco and the name is Arabic for "head of the shop". Each Moroccan spice shop has its own recipe for a complex and heady blend of aromatic spices, so no two are exactly the same.
You can buy Ras El Hanout and paprika as part of a Spice Tin collection from Spice Kitchen directly from their website here.

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