MOROCCAN MEATBALLS AND TOMATO SAUCE

This is my version of one of Mideastro’s signature dishes called kufta. They serve it in individual dishes baked with thin pita dough on top to seal in juices and aromas. Serve drizzled with tahina yogurt sauce over couscous, rice or pita. The meatballs freeze well so make a double batch and have some for another time.

This is my version of one of Mideastro’s signature dishes called kufta. They serve it in individual dishes baked with thin pita dough on top to seal in juices and aromas. Serve drizzled with tahina yogurt sauce over couscous, rice or pita. The meatballs freeze well so make a double batch and have some for another time.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef or half beef and half lamb
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp each ground cinnamon and allspice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • TOMATO SAUCE:
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp each cinnamon and allspice
  • pinch hot red pepper flakes - more or less to taste
  • 1 28oz tin plum tomatoes, with juices, broken up
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • YOGURT TAHINA SAUCE:
  • 1/4 cup tahina (preferably Prince brand)
  • 1/2 cup unflavoured Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp harissa or hot sauce, optional

Method

    1. Combine ground meat, onion, garlic, egg, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper. Shape into 12 meatballs.

    2. Heat oil in a large heavy pan. Brown meatballs well about 5 minutes, shaking pan so that they will brown on all sides.

    3. For tomato sauce, in another large, deep skillet heat oil and add onions, garlic, cumin, saffron, cinnamon, allspice and hot pepper flakes. Cook gently 5 to 8 minutes until onions wilt. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Break up tomatoes with a potato masher and cook on medium heat, uncovered until thick - 10 to 15 minutes.

    4. Add meatballs and cook gently 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season to taste.

    5. Meanwhile, for tahina sauce whisk tahina together with yogurt, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, water, salt and hot sauce in a small bowl until smooth. Or process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

    6. Serve meatballs sprinkled with cilantro and drizzled with tahini sauce. Extra tahina sauce will keep a few days.

Find more of Bonnie's delicious recipes in her cookbooks: