Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Recipe Test - Moroccan Meatballs

Last night I tested out this recipe for Moroccan Meatballs which comes from the Paleo cookbook Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. This has become one of my favorite cookbooks for dinners and sides. My cooking has always leaned towards more Italian-style recipes and her recipes have given me an opportunity to explore a lot of new exotic flavors and experiment with spices I don't normally use.

True to form, this recipe was a slam dunk and I followed it pretty exactly from the book. I didn't have pistachios for the garnish, so I did omit those. The recipe also directs you to form your meatballs by measuring each as a level tablespoon, but I actually used my meatballer tool which gave me slightly bigger meatballs. I don't think this made a difference either way.

I was a bit thrown off when I finished cooking the meatballs as I didn't think they looked anything like the picture in the book. The book's photo shows the meatballs looking browned and not coated in any kind of excess sauce. As you will see from my photos, I actually was left with plenty of the nice, thick, delicious sauce. The sauce was really the best part of the dish. Had I realized there would be so much left, I probably would have served this recipe over zucchini noodles. Oh well - next time!


  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2lb ground lamb
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, mined (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the parsley, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper with a fork. With your hands, crumble the lamb into the bowl and knead until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Moisten your hands with water and shake to remove excess. Measure a level tablespoon of lamb and roll into a ball between your palms. (I used the meatballer to do this.) Line up the meatballs on a baking sheet until it's time to put them in the sauce.
  3. Heat oil in a large deep skillet or pot. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan and stir about 1 minute. Add the water, tomato paste, and parsley, mixing to dissolve the tomato paste.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil, then gently place the meatballs in the skillet, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 40 minutes covered, then remove the lid and cook an additional 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Sprinkle each serving with a few teaspoons of chopped pistachios.
mmmm meat!

This is my meatballer tool.

Sauteed onions in coconut oil.

Added in the spices.

Added in the tomatoes.

Added in the rest of the ingredients.

Dropped in my meatballs.

Almost finished cooking. See all the nice sauce left!

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