Moroccan Meatballs

These Moroccan spiced meatballs are so popular in my house that my family declared them their new favorite food. And it's easy to see why, this popular North African dish, adapted from the NY Times Cooking section, boasts a delightful mixture of spices and herbs simmered in a deliciously savory sauce that is wonderful with flat bread to soak it all up with. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients, you mostly throw them all in the bowl and mix, it really couldn't be simpler.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 stick cinnamon
large pinch saffron
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. harissa paste
3 c. chicken broth

1 piece bread, grated or chopped fine
1/2 c. milk
1/2 lb ground beef (80/20)
3/4 lb. ground lamb
1 small egg
1 tsp. salt
Generous dash black pepper
Generous dash white pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinched mace
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. hot paprika
Generous pinch cloves
Generous pinch allspice
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 c. fresh chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
3 green onions, sliced, white and green parts separate
1/4 c. flour

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pot, one big enough to eventually hold the sauce and meatballs. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic saffron, and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Turn the heat up really high and add the vinegar. Simmer for 4-5 minutes until the vinegar is reduced and add the cinnamon, harissa, black pepper, and stock. Simmer on low while you prepare the meatballs. 

Heat 3 Tbsp more oil in a large skillet. In a separate bowl ombine the milk, bread, salt, ground beef, and ground lamb and mix to combine. Add everything else except for the flour and the green parts of the green onions, but do add the white parts. 

Form in to 1-inch balls and coat lightly in flour. Brown on two sides in the oil that was heating. Only cook a few at a time to keep from crowding the pan and steaming the meatballs. Once they are browned on both sides remove from the pan and place in the simmering pan of sauce. Repeat until all the remaining meatballs are in the sauce simmering. 

Simmer for 20 minutes more and then serve with flatbread, couscous, or rice, topped with the reserved green onions.


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