A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to attend a Moroccan cooking class taught by my friend Norma. Norma is not Moroccan but lived there for several years, and the food she made was amazing! Since my husband and I had lived in the Middle East I had randomly picked up the special cooking pot called a tagine that is used in Moroccan cooking. I had found some recipe online for a tagine recipe, but was sorely disappointed in the result. So when I tasted Norma's food I was so excited to finally be able to use that pot!
|A very basic tagine, or Moroccan cooking pot.|
I made two tagines (the pots and the dishes you make with them are both called tagines) the following week, and my kids and husband could not get enough. I had expected leftovers, and was left with none. It was wonderful (except that I didn't get to eat that amazing food again for lunch the next day). This one was our favorite, but I'll post the Chicken and Carrot one later on this week, which was also very good.
Of course, not everyone has a tagine pot. If you'd like to buy one without traveling to Morocco, you can get them at Sur La Table or World Market. Or if not, you can always use a standard American stock pot. That will work just fine.
Kefta is the Arabic word for ground meat. In this case it means meatballs. I used ground beef for the meatballs but you could also use ground lamb or goat meat.
As a side note, Norma said that generally these dishes are served with an artisan-style bread. You can quite easily make the one I used. The recipe is here. It was delicious with this tagine.
Kefta (Meatball) Tagine
Recipe by Norma Bergaust
1 lb hamburger
1 medium onion, minced (you will use 1/4 of it for the meatballs and the rest in the sauce)
1 egg yolk or whole egg
1 clove garlic (or more--I used about 3 cloves)
1 T minced parcley
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cumin
Minced onion (the remainder from the meatballs above)
2 cloves garlic (or more)
4 oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
Small bunch parsley, chopped
Small bunch cilantro, chopped
For the meatballs, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, being sure to only use 1/4 of the minced onion. Form into small meatballs, about 1/2"-1" in diameter. Place on waxed paper on a baking sheet and refrigerate until needed. You can also make the meatballs ahead of time, place them on the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze them overnight, then remove them to a plastic bag to store in the freezer.
Place the tagine or a stock pot on the stovetop at medium heat. In a food processor place the remaining onion, garlic, tomato paste and water. Process until well combined, then pour into tagine. Heat for several minutes until hot, then add olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. Stir to combine, then drop in the meatballs. They should cover the entire tagine. Add enough water to just cover the meatballs, then add the parsley and cilantro, reserving some cilantro to use as garnish. Cover with lid and cook over medium or medium low heat until the sauce is a nice consistency and the meatballs are cooked, about 15-20 minutes.
Uncover the pot, crack eggs onto the top of the meatballs, and cover and continue to cook until they're set, about 10-15 more minutes.
Serve with artisan-style bread.
Makes 5-6 servings.