Last week I worked on a food styling assignment for a Canadian TV commercial where I had to make a very large meatball for one of the scenes. Prior to getting the job, I had wanted to make a Moroccan spicy meatball dish as I love North African flavours. These Moroccan meatballs go so well with this herb couscous.
After the job, as can be expected, I lost some of my inspiration and fondness for meatballs. Nevertheless, I decided since there was such a meatball focus, I would proceed with developing this recipe regardless and I’m pleased I did, it was delicious, and so comforting with the sudden onset of wintery weather in Cape Town.
I am a very big fan of Egyptian Dukkah and I love it sprinkled over oven-roasted vegetables, or cooked on fish and chicken. It’s wonderful with roasted cauliflower and red onions and with pears. Two years ago I stuffed my Christmas turkey with sage, herbs and dukkah and it went down a treat.
I wanted to include it in my meatball dish, so this is what you need to make these:
Recipe – Morrocan meatballs with herb couscous – serves 4
- 500gm beef or lamb mince (I used organic, extra lean mince)
- 1 onion grated
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- a pinch of dried chilli flakes as hot as you would like. I used smoked chilli flakes
- 2 Tbs dukkah
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt (it needs a fair bit) and pepper
- olive oil for frying
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 x 400gm tins of chopped peeled tomatoes
- 200 ml chicken or lamb stock
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (again I used smoked)
- salt to taste
- fresh coriander/cilantro to garnish
- 200gms couscous (I prefer wholewheat couscous, it’s tastier and better for you)
- a glug of olive oil or 50gms of butter (I prefer using olive oil)
- 350ml chicken stock
- 1/2 bunch parsley chopped (2 T of chopped)
- 1/2 bunch coriander/cilantro chopped (2 T of chopped)
How to make these:
- place all the meatball ingredients in a bowl and using your hand’s mix to combine
- roll into smallish meatballs
- heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry the meatballs in batches until nicely browned on all sides and then set aside
- lightly fry the onions, garlic and spice ingredients for the sauce in the meatball pan (with a dash more olive oil) until softened – about 5 minutes.
- add the tomatoes and the stock
- bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer – cook for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened
- add the meatballs back into the sauce and allow them to finish off cooking – about 8 – 10 minutes depending on how big your meatballs are
- to make the couscous, pour the hot stock and olive oil over the grains in a bowl. Cover and allow to stand until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff up with a fork and mix in the freshly chopped herbs to serve
Scatter over some roughly chopped coriander to bring in more freshness.
This dish is nicely spicy, a little bit sweet and fragrant, with the nuts and sesame seeds in the dukkah adding some texture.
I’m pleased I still love them, despite a small overdose.