Moroccan Lamb Meatballs


Photography Andy Arnfield – The Gourmet Grocer

Saturday night and the smell of cumin and coriander are wafting through the house, as dinner tonight comes in the form of delicious Moroccan meatballs, in a rich tomato sauce. The hardest thing about this dish, is rolling the little fellas,  and that’s not difficult. I like to serve this dish with a leafy feta salad and nutty brown rice.  I always make extras, as this dish warms up perfectly and there is nothing better for a midnight snack than a meatball sub, with lashings of mustard to help you sleep. Enjoy!

Serves 4

700g lamb mince
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
1 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
1 tsp hot paprika
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint, plus extra leaves, shredded, to garnish
1 tsp salt
2-4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 x 7.5cm cinnamon sticks
3cm piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp clear honey
300ml lamb or chicken stock

For the chermoula
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp harissa paste or ½ tsp minced red chilli from a jar
1 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
1 tsp freshly ground coriander ?seeds
¾ tsp paprika
Small pinch of saffron strands (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
20g fresh mint, leaves picked
2 tbsp olive oil

*Note you could also use a store bought chermoula paste.  The one from Simon Johnson and Christine Manfield are particularly good and available from the Gourmet Grocer store.

01.Put all the chermoula ingredients into a mini food processor and blend to a smooth paste (or grind in a pestle and mortar). Set aside.
02.For the meatballs, put the lamb mince into a bowl with the crushed garlic, cumin and coriander seeds, paprika, chopped mint, salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Mix well with your hands, then shape into 2.5cm balls (about 35g each) with lightly oiled hands.
03.Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a small flameproof casserole or large saucepan, add the meatballs and fry briefly on all sides until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
04.Add the remaining oil (if needed), chopped onions and cinnamon sticks to the oil left in the pan and fry gently for 6-7 minutes until the onion is soft and lightly golden. Stir in the grated ginger and fry for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, honey, lamb stock and 2 tbsp of the chermoula, then bring to a simmer. Drop the meatballs into the sauce, part-cover with a lid, then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring now and then, until the sauce has reduced and thickened nicely. Stir in the remaining chermoula, season, scatter with the shredded mint leaves and serve with buttered couscous or pasta.

Adapted from recipe

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