Whenever I think of Morocco, I think of my Grandma’s travels during the 1980s and how we had to sit and look at all her slides in the living room of her house. Did anyone else have to endure that? The incessant clicking of the slide projector, as it showed each photo beamed to the wall, and then listening to the story that went with each photo. Tales of cities I hadn’t even heard of, like Marrakesh and Casablanca, with the corresponding photo full of vibrant colours and interesting looking characters. Photos of her and her husband in front of souks, dressed in safari suits which were the height of fashion at the time, eyeing off the mounds of glorious spices. Unfortunately, there were no corresponding aromas with the photos, and with my Grandma not being the greatest of cooks no corresponding meals inspired by far flung places. But had she had the means, perhaps she’d have made these Moroccan inspired meatballs, spiced with the fragrant Ras el-hanout. This spice blend has warmth and depth, from a variety of ingredients including rose petals, with minimal chilli, which lends itself well to meatballs. Serves 3- 4.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
- 1 x tin plum tomatoes
- 125ml chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- 500g lamb mince
- 1 small brown onion, grated
- 3 tbsp Ras el-hanout paste (or 1 1/2 tbsp of Ras el-hanout spice mix.)
- 35g breadcrumbs
- 1 medium egg
- Bunch of coriander, finely chopped
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Pomegranate seeds
- Chopped coriander
- Chopped mint
- Place a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil and then fry the garlic until softened, approximately one minute; stir regularly.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and chicken stock, increase the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low-medium, and leave to simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have started to break down. Use a back of a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes further. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, place the lamb, onion, spice paste/mix, breadcrumbs, egg and coriander, and mix thoroughly with clean hands. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Divide the mixture into four. Roll five meatballs between each division. Therefore, this will make 20 meatballs.
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, over a medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs and fry for approximately 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Set aside on a plate. Cook the remaining meatballs.
- Return all the meatballs to the frying pan and pour over the tomato sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are all cooked through.
- Serve with couscous and roasted vegetables with scattered pomegranate seeds and chopped coriander and mint. Enjoy!