moroccan beef meatball tagine

Recipe printed from chiknpastry

Moroccan Beef Meatball Tagine
Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2010; serves 6

'tagine' has double meaning: in some cases, it's the oddly-shaped clay cooking vessel with a triangular lid, made to keep condensation on the bottom of the dish. Here, it's an actual Moroccan stew, which is commonly called a 'tagine'. I prefer the stew with a nutty, firm grain like barley or farro - they are great in the stew, adding a nice texture. if you'd prefer though, go all-Moroccan and use couscous.


1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/3 c coarsely grated onion
1/3 c panko breadcrumbs
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 lg egg, beaten to blend
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t turmeric
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t coarse kosher salt
1/4 t ground ginger

1 c pearled barley (or other grain, like farro)
1 T olive oil
3 1/2 c chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cinnamon stick
1 t turmeric
1/8 t saffron threads, crumbled
2 c beef broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 c golden raisins
2 c 1/2-inch-thick carrot slices (cut on diagonal)
1 zucchini, peeled and sliced diagnoally (optional, if you have it)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for garnish
1 5-ounce package baby spinach leaves
cilantro and lemons, for garnish, optional

For meatballs:
Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet.

For stew:
Bring barley and 3 cups of water to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook about 1 hour or until tender. Keep warm.

Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté about 15 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, and saffron; stir 2 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes with juice, and raisins.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring stew to simmer. Stir in carrots and zucchini. Carefully add meatballs to stew; gently press into liquid to submerge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cilantro over. Cover pot; place in oven. Bake until meatballs are cooked through and carrots are tender, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle spinach over stew. Cover and bake until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes longer. Gently stir to mix in spinach, being careful not to break meatballs. Remove cinnamon stick. Season tagine with salt and pepper. Spoon couscous into bowls; top with tagine. Garnish with cilantro and lemons.