Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Moroccan Meatball Tagine

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

1-1/2 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
Chopped cilantro
Lemon wedges

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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tender b. said...

Lovely outdoor shots.

Kim said...

I really like knowing recipes benefits of the time, that way, we can prepare these in advance! This meatball tagine would please us here, I'm sure... Great pictures of Orcas Islands!

Barb Bamber said...

All those flavors blended together would be so delicious! I would love to have this right now and it's only breakfast time, lol:D turmeric.. raisins.. saffron, just lovely!

Unknown said...

Lovely pictures, Mary - and the meatballs sound divine!!

Deana Sidney said...

Love those meatballs... the seasoning is perfect as are those photos of the island... looks like paradise!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Love the flavors in this recipe. I lived in Morocco years (decades!) ago, and really learned to love cinnamon in savory dishes. Those photos of the island are wonderful! Thanks for a great post.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

It all sounds delicious Mary, the San Juan Islands are indeed beautiful.

Angie's Recipes said...

Mary, I love this stew! And the presentation and photos are just mouthwatering.

safire said...

I love Moroccan food! The pictures look so tranquil. This looks delicious. I'm a huge fan of spices!

Rita said...

Never would have thought of using meatballs in a tagine,but why not. It really turned out wonderful.

Kathy said...

Mary, This looks scrumptious! I have never made a tagine before but, would love to try these lovely meatballs!

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful blog!

raquel@eRecipe.com said...

I love the moist and tender appearance of your meatballs. I'll cook half of it spicy and the other half not spicy for the kids to enjoy it. Yummy! =)

Suzie said...

Oh these sound tasty. I love meatballs and what a different take on them. Pretty pictures too :)

Ginny Hartzler said...

Your pictures are so peaceful and beautiful!!! And the meatballs look delicious!

Priya Suresh said...

Super tasty and delicious tagine, eye pleasing clicks.

David said...

Mary, We both love the San Juan Islands!! Your photos reminded me that we'll have to plan another NW USA/Canada Trip... Those meatballs look and sound great. Thanks for the recipe! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Gloria Baker said...

Lovely pics Mary and love these meatballs!!

Blond Duck said...

I love anything with meatballs!

Alessandra said...

Beautiful images Mary!


Jeannette said...

Ah, if only you delivered...

Sangeetas Kitchen said...

I am at a loss for adjectives for each of your posts, Mary!!! Lovely!

Rachelle said...

My Grandma grew up in Morocco and so I am always looking for new authentic Moroccan dishes. Thank you.

Amanda said...

Really interesting take on this tajine! Can never go wrong when meatballs are involved!

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