Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Moroccan Meatballs with Herbed Couscous

Yesterday, I made Lorraine Pascale's Minted Lamb Burgers which were absolutely beautiful.  Having only used up half of the raw mixture, I faced a dilemma because I'd defrosted the mince so couldn't freeze and store any more burgers.  For a while, my analyst brain ran wild - Option a) eat burgers again for tea. Option b) feed them to the dogs Option c) do nothing (I have to put this into every business case I write so it was just habit).  Option d) was to turn them into meatballs.

Still haven't improved my meatball photography skills!
I checked my BBC Good Food Binder and found just such a recipe that I'd bookmarked ages ago.  All I needed was the sauce and the herbed couscous.  In all actuality, I probably could've made the sauce up myself ever since I discovered that the difference between a good tomato sauce and a great tomato sauce is actually a pinch of sugar.  I wish I'd known that years ago.  In fact, the BBC Good Food recipe didn't include this, but I found my sauce to have a bit of a weird tang from the cinnamon.  One small pinch of brown sugar later et voila.  The perfect sauce.

Seeing as how it's Wednesday, the husband was having his usual meal of baked chicken, Uncle Ben's tomato rice and gravy.  When I turned up with meatballs for my dinner, he got all sulky.  But whenever I've mentioned Moroccan food before, I have to listen endlessly about how he spent a month living in Morocco, eating food cooked by a real Moroccan and he didn't like that so anything I might care to cook would be far worse.  I remain astounded that he managed to survive for a whole month.  Do they have Pizza Hut in Morocco??

Anyway, I honestly think he'll like this meal.  Everything was really tasty.  I've written several times before about how I've struggled with finding the perfect homecooked meatballs recipe but I think I've now finally found one he will like (he wouldn't like the Chipotle Meatballs I made back in December as they were spicy).

Recipe - serves four (with generous helpings)

For the meatballs

  • 450g lamb mince
  • 1 egg
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled, grated and squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible
  • small bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.  
  2. Divide the mixture into 24 pieces and shape into firm balls (they will feel a little soft but don't disintegrate on cooking).  Refrigerate for thirty minutes to allow them to set a little.
  3. Heat a frying pan with a little olive oil and gently fry the meatballs until browned.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set to one side.

For the tomato sauce

  • 2x400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2cm root ginger or a generous teaspoon of minced ginger from a jar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • pinch of soft brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large saucepan, gently heat the oil then add the garlic, ginger and dried spices and cook for two minutes.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock sugar and season to taste.  Simmer for ten minutes.  Add the meatballs and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  3. Serve over herbed couscous.

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