I'm particularly interested in travel, reading, history, and cooking.
In around a week, I leave home again, so I've been trying to cook as often as possible to make as many recipes and dishes before I'm unable to do any cooking—or at least, hardly any—for months again. Most have been successes, but one of my favorites so far is another dish from the Middle East—well, Morocco actually—which I had found and adopted from Tamarind and Saffron, Favourite Recipes from the Middle East. I had mentioned in a previous post about ma'amoul pastries that I had loved a version of meatballs with sour cherry sauce, a proposal I rest with, but I have grown to favor another meatball dish even more. This is that dish: meatballs in tomato sauce with eggs. While more difficult to make, although most of this I think can be ascribed to my problems with sufficiently fine onions to include in the meatballs, it makes a tremendous meal on its own, and in combination with some naan or flatbread, it is even more delicious. I suppose couscous would be an excellent cereal to pair with it as well, and couscous is after all, a dearly beloved food in Morocco, the country of origin of the recipe.
This is a very flexible recipe, and one can change and alter it as one wants. I would think that adding in some green vegetables would be quite easy, such as spinach, or heavier ones such as broccoli. Of course, these cause their impact upon the flavor and pick up flavor themselves, but this is a dish which lends itself well to easily incorporating everything necessary for a balanced diet, meat, carbohydrates, and vegetables, and doubtless more exotic materials could be used if one was adventurous enough. Moroccan cuisine seems to have a genius for that, particularly with its couscous. I've only been able to make large grained couscous previously, but I eagerly await making some fine-grained couscous dishes in the future.
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Serves 6 in conjunction with sides
- 750g/1 1/2 lb minced/ground lamb or beef
- 1 onion, EXTREMELY finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons parsley
- 6 tablespoons cilantro
- pinch chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- salt and pepper
- 2 onions, These can be less well chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
- 750g/1 1/2 lb tomatoes, chopped, peeled if desired
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed or cut
- 6 eggs (can be reduced if desired), These could be omitted if one only desires the base, but I found them quite good
- First, one prepares the meatballs. Onions must be prepared extremely finely for best results, if they are too coarse the result will be that the meatballs will not hold together as well. This can be done with chopping manually, which is my preferred approach, but I might recommend a food processor or blender to try to achieve the most finely chopped ingredients. Then combine the onion with the lamb or beef, 3 tablespoons of cilantro, 3 tablespoons of parsley, salt, pepper, a small amount of chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Mix together well, kneed with one's hands, and then roll out into balls about the size of a large marble.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large pot or wide dish—I used a dutch oven but a wok, or skillet (for this stage) would work fine as well. Fry meatballs in oil until they are brown, moving them so that they are evenly colored. Do this with a spatula which is sufficiently thin to fit comfortable under them. Lift out afterwards to a separate plate or bowl.
- In the same large pot or in a large pot, fry the other 2 onions in the remaining oil until they are softened, then add garlic, tomatoes, sugar, salt, and simmer to reduce, for 15 minutes. Add parsley and coriander, then add the meatballs and cook another 5 minutes.
- Break eggs over the dish, cooking until whites are set.
- Either serve on its own or preferably over rice or with bread. If desired green vegetables are easily added, or a vegetable like spinach would make a good side dish.
© 2017 Ryan Thomas