Orcas Island Trilogy
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Orcas Island is a wonderful place for those who love fresh air, water sports and nature. At this time of year the weather is beautiful and the island is still quiet, though residents are bracing themselves for the onslaught of summer visitors. A day on the water is sure to stimulate the appetite and when the sun sets it's really nice to have a meal that will warm the body and the soul. This tagine is a perfect way to end the day and it is an easy dish to prepare, even in a strange kitchen. The meatballs are what makes this a special meal. They are moist, tender and extremely flavorful. If you like Moroccan cooking, I really think you'll love them. I certainly hope you will give them a try. The dish improves with age, so whenever possible, I'll make it the day before I plan to serve it. That gives all the flavors a chance to meld and it also allows me to degrease the sauce. The meatballs are made with 80% ground beef so, I can guarantee you'll want to degrease the sauce. If you use ground meat with less fat, the meatballs will be dry and unappealing. The sauce, by the way, will be thin. I usually will thicken it with a tablespoon or two of an instant-blending flour just before I serve it. The tagine should be ladled over bowls of couscous or rice, though on occasion I've been known to serve it in pita pockets. This is a great family meal that teens will enjoy, though I don't think the spicing will appeal to younger children. I do hope you'll give this a try. Here's the recipe.
Moroccan Meatball Tagine...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Bon Appetit
Meatballs1-1/2 pounds ground beef (20% fat)
1/3 cup coarsely grated onion
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 large egg, beaten to blend
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-1/2 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
2 cups beef broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 cups 1/2-inch-thick carrot slices (cut on diagonal)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for garnish
1 5-ounce package baby spinach leaves
1) To make meatballs: Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1-1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet.
2) To make stew: Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté about 15 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, and saffron; stir 2 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes with juice, and raisins.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring stew to simmer. Stir in carrots. Carefully add meatballs to stew; gently press into liquid to submerge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cilantro over. Cover pot; place in oven. Bake until meatballs are cooked through and carrots are tender, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle spinach over stew. Cover and bake until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes longer. Gently stir to mix in spinach, being careful not to break meatballs. Remove cinnamon sticks. Season tagine with salt and pepper. Serve over couscous or rice. Yield: 6 servings.
This post is being linked to Outdoor Wednesday, a weekly feature on the blog, A Southern Daydreamer.
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