North African Meatballs

12 Oct

north african meatballsI have to admit, this dish was not a hit with the kids, especially after they found out about the olives, though Aniston did (sort of) compliment the meatballs.  However, I thought it was a nice change of pace from “regular” tomato sauce, and if you like olives, you’ll love it.

The recipe is based on this one from Food Network

North African Meatballs

For the sauce:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 c chopped olives
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 1/4 c chicken stock
  • 14 oz can tomatoes, crushed or diced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • salt & pepper

For the meatballs:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 3 T chopped cilantro
  • 1 T fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 c rolled oats, finely ground (use a food processor or coffee grinder)
  • salt & pepper
  • 3-4 T vegetable oil
  • 4 T fresh parsley, chopped

To make the sauce: in a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until soft but not brown.  Add the lemon zest and olives and cook for one minute.  Add the wine to deglaze the pan, and let it reduce for 1-2 minutes.  Add the stock, tomatoes, sugar, red pepper, and cinnamon.  Simmer over low heat while you make the meatballs.

For the meatballs: Whisk together the egg and tomato paste until smooth.  Mix in the cilantro, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon.  Stir in the ground beef and oats with a fork, and season with salt and pepper.  Gently form 1″ balls.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and brown meatballs in batches.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, and add the meatballs to the sauce as they are done.  Simmer the sauce and meatballs for 20 minutes. 

Serve over couscous, rice, or pasta

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