Sunday, January 2, 2011

Moroccan Beef Meatball Tagine

You might have noticed from my pictures, but a lot of our meals consist of rice with some kind of saucy meat topping.  While I try to cook a lot of different kinds of meals, Al really likes food that is easy to eat so he can "shovel food faster into his pie hole."  This tagine (or stew) is a favorite of ours!  It's easy, flavorful, and we makes plenty for leftovers. =)

(Hmmmm, again I am not a photographer....or a food maybe this picture doesn't look as appetizing as it should...=P)

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 
  • 1/2 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

For 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. 

For 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.

Preheat oven to 350°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.

Some notes~
  • I've never used saffron because I can't bring myself to buy the actual spice.  It might make it taste even better, but we still like it as it is.  Instead, I serve the stew with saffron rice (like the mahatma saffron rice) to make up for not getting the spice.
  • When we are out of cinnamon sticks, I just saute the onions with about a tsp. of ground cinnamon and it tastes the same.

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