Moroccan Meatballs

Summer is starting to wind down, that’s for sure. The last few mornings have been pretty chilly when I’ve left the house for work and even though the temperatures have made their way up into the 80s before the day is over, fall is definitely just around the corner. Personally, I’m pretty excited because that means a lot of yummy foods like soup and chili and of course, meatballs.

If you let me, I could probably eat spaghetti and meatballs every other day and possibly even every day. There’s something inherently fun about twirling your noodles around on a spoon and following them up with garlicky, yummy meatballs. Always looking to switch up my culinary repertoire, these meatballs took a Moroccan spin, using a variety of herbs and pork or lamb to lighten things up. Just before you serve, toss in some golden raisins for an unexpected pop of sweetness. I served mine over egg noodles since I had them on hand, but to really get into the Moroccan spirit of things, this would pair very well with couscous. Yum!

Moroccan Meatballs

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 10 mint leaves, finely chopped plus another 10 roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped plus ½ cup roughly chopped
  • 2 pounds ground pork or lamb
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • Olive oil
  • 1 ¾ red onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 28 oz canned whole tomatoes
  • ¼ cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients from the breadcrumbs down to the beaten egg. Then mix in the finely chopped herbs (reserving the rest for later) and the ground pork or lamb. Spread the flour out on a plate and then roll the pork or lamb mixture into 1” meatballs. Roll each of the meatballs in the flour to lightly coat them and tap off any excess flour. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with plenty of olive oil and fry the meatballs until they are brown on each side. You will likely have to do this in batches to really brown the meat well.

Set the meatballs aside and add some more oil to the pan. Toss in the sliced onions with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 or so minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well, browning the tomato paste for about 2 minutes. Add the excess flour from before, which will give you a very thick sauce. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, making sure to scrape up any brown bits that have collected on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes, breaking up the tomatoes as much as possible, then bring the sauce up to a low boil.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and bake for 30 minutes. When you remove the sauce from the oven, place the pot over medium heat on the stove top and add the raisins and the remaining herbs from before. Allow the sauce to reduce for about 5 or so minutes and then serve over egg noodles or couscous.

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