I was recently gifted a load of ingredients from work. We had done a photo shoot using them and as the poorest person in the office, they felt it would be kind to ensure that I wouldn’t starve.
There was loads of stuff; tomatoes, coconuts, butternut squash, dried beans… just so much stuff. The things which piqued my interest the most, however, were the spices and giant couscous.
After we had carefully arranged the spices in the most photogenic way, we swept them all into a pot and I took them home. I don’t really know what was in it, but I’m pretty sure there was Ras el Hanout because I saw a tub of it on the table and there was definitely turmeric because my hands were bright yellow.
I had planned to make meatballs that evening, mainly because I had a kilogram of mince which I couldn’t fit in my freezer. The introduction of this plethora of free ingredients got my cogs turning and convinced me to push my boundaries a little. My comfort zone, regarding meatballs, is firmly in Italian territory. This gift gave me cause to ponder about ways in which I could venture out of my safe place and into a whole other world of flavour.
I decided to take a culinary trip to Morocco.
It does look as though this recipe is quite complicated, but don’t worry. I am a very lazy cook and I manage to get by on luck. So it’s actually pretty easy when put into practice.
There are two parts to the recipe because you make the meatballs and then cook them in the sauce. You can make the bits simultaneously which cuts down on prep time.
I took the leftovers into work as a way of thanking them for their charity and they went down an absolute treat. So I didn’t get to eat as much of it as I wanted, kind of a pyrrhic victory in that sense.
Moroccan Almond and Apricot Meatballs
Mince (preferably lamb, but any mince will do)
Oil (any kind you like, really. I used coconut oil)
These meatballs are ridiculously easy. You won’t believe how quickly you can make them.
- Finely chop the shallots and garlic, like really small. Or put them in a blender, which I did
- Fry them off for a few minutes, don’t let them burn. You just want them to go a bit translucent
- Put all of the ingredients except for the mince in the blender and add the cooked mince and garlic
- Blend it for a short while. You don’t want it to turn into a paste, just really tiny bits.
- Grab a bowl, throw in the mince and your blended mixture
- Get your hands right on up in that bowl and start squishing. Make sure that the mixture is… mixed, I guess. What we’re aiming for here is a uniform spread in the meatballs, you don’t want to end up with one meatball that’s pure mince and one that’s pure mixture. We want even, uniform balls (let’s not be puerile, there is just no other way to phrase that sentence)
- Form what you end up with into balls (ok, it is kind of funny)
- Heat up your oil, don’t let it start smoking, or catching fire. That’s kind of obvious
- Put your meatballs in and cook them all over. I did that 12 o’clock thing where you start at the top of the pan and put them in the pan in a clockwise fashion so you know which went in first and can turn them accordingly
- Once they’re cooked all over, turn off the heat and get on with the sauce
Moroccan Tomato and Apple Sauce
Before we make the sauce, which is also very simple, we need to do a quick prep with the apple. Simply chop an apple into small chunks, not too fine. Sprinkle on some cinnamon and toss them in a bit of honey. Roast in the oven until they go soft. Simple
Any other vegetables you want really. The reason I didn’t add any to this was because I was putting them in the couscous
Ras el Hanout
Read carefully because this one is really complicated. I’m not even sure I can remember all of the steps, so I’ll just do what I can.
- Blend all of the ingredients except the chickpeas
- Stir in the chickpeas
- Pour over the meatballs and cook on a low heat until the meatballs are cooked throughout
- Reread this method because this is far too easy, you must have missed a step. That can’t be it, can it?
Phew! That one nearly got away from me. So glad I was able to recollect all of that
I ate this with grilled vegetables in couscous, the recipe for which I got from ThugKitchen. Word of warning, the language on that site is somewhat coarse, so tread carefully. But the food is amazing