Meatballs have got to be comfort eating at its absolute best, so I can't resist making a big bowl this week to get me through the deep freeze! I have loads of meatball recipes on my blog, they are a real fave of mine; so easy to make and always super delicious. I wanted to try a different spin this week by creating a Moroccan tagine using pork meatballs, instead of the traditional slow cooked lamb. This meatball recipe is fast in comparison but still includes all the elements we love about the traditional Moroccan dish.
Pork is my meat of choice for this tagine because it's naturally lower in fat and a little lighter, but still provides great flavour. You could use minced lamb or chicken etc if you prefer, they all taste great with a Middle Eastern themed dish.
I love the rich spices in a tagine, they help to warm my bones and curb my hunger to complete satisfaction. It is quite spice heavy (hence why it's so filling), I've counted 6 in my recipe, but believe me, it's well worth the investment if you don't already have them lurking in the cupboard. And if you do, this is an extremely easy shopping trip!
Start the sauce by frying onions with a glug of olive oil, then progressively add the garlic, spices, harissa paste, tomatoes and stock. The spices create a wonderful aroma in the air, but wait to have a taste! Let it bubble away and get going with the wonderful meatballs.
Get your hands in and knead all those lovely ingredients together, I really like this bit!
Wash and wet your hands, then roll the mixture into balls. I made around 20, about 1 inch in diameter. The size isn't important so if you prefer slightly larger or smaller then go for it!
Once the sauce has been cooking for 20 minutes, drop in the meatballs and allow them to cook for 40 minutes, until the sauce is lovely and thick.
I've sprinkled my meatball tagine with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and coriander to pretty it up! Not only do these elements look great but they add little bursts of flavour and texture when eating.
Serve with couscous or rice and use the leftovers for a flatbread sandwich!
Takes just over an hour
Ingredients for the sauce
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
250ml chicken stock
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp cumin, paprika, ginger & turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients for the meatballs
500g good quality minced pork (or lamb, chicken etc)
2 tsp harissa paste
1/4 tsp cumin, paprika & cayenne pepper
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
50g pomegranate seeds
50g pine nuts, toasted
Fresh coriander, chopped
Couscous, rice or flat bread
Start by making the sauce. Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and fry until soft and beginning to colour, now add the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds. Transfer a couple of tablespoons to a mixing bowl (for the meatballs). Now add the ground spices and harissa paste, cook for a further minute. Pour in the tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs by combining all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper. Knead with your hands and roll into balls, around an inch in diameter. I managed about 20.
Once the sauce has been simmering for 20 minutes, drop the meatballs in to cook. Add a little water if the sauce is looking too thick. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring every so often, until the sauce has thickened up. Taste for seasoning.
Scatter with the pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and coriander, and serve with your choice of side. I'm just going to eat a big bowl on its own!