Moroccan Tagine with Lamb Balls

Tagine Sauce

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced in thin rounds
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 pear (or apple), sliced into pieces (you can also use plums or peaches when they are in season)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4-8 teaspoons Raz el Hanout spice blend (depending on desired spiciness)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. hot paprika or Berber spice blend
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 1 preserved lemon, skin chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 15 ounces organic fire roasted tomatoes, or 6 medium tomatoes, diced.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other large heavy pan with a cover. Add the onions and sauté slowly until golden. While the onions are cooking, add the ginger and Raz el Hanout, saffron, cumin and paprika or Berber blend. Allow to cook for 1 minute. Add the pear, apple or or stone fruit. Add tomatoes, olives, and preserved lemon with chopped skin.

Place in covered pot or tagine and cook about 35 minutes. This is best if made the day before and reheated with the meat balls:

Lamb Balls (12-14 meat balls)

  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4-5 mint leaves, minced
  • 1 tsp. Raz el Hanout
  • 1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix with your hands until everything is evenly combined. Roll some of the mixture in your hands to form meatballs that are a little smaller than golf balls. Bake on a cookie sheet for 12-14 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest.

These can be made ahead and added to the tagine sauce just before serving. Sprinkle the sauce with fresh chopped parsley and cilantro.

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