Why is it that I can get my kids to eat meatballs, but when I make meatloaf they cringe? It is something about the shape of the meat that gets them every time. If I cut up the meatloaf into small bite sized pieces, I can usually trick them into eating it – until they see the loaf pan on the counter. Personally, I love meatloaf – I love the simplicity, and the flavor of the beef cooking in it’s own juices. On the other hand, I love meatballs too. Especially when they are served with pasta and sauce.
I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and I thought it looked very interesting. Meatballs made with cinnamon – I had to try this one. Also – the meatballs cook in the sauce – with no pre-baking – how simple! These were a huge success – I just kept taking another bite, looking forward to that next burst of flavor. I served it over israeli couscous – and it was an incredible meal in a bowl. I can’t wait to make it again.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (20% fat)
- 1/3 cup coarsely grated onion
- 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 large egg, beaten to blend
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 2 cups 1/2-inch-thick carrot slices (cut on diagonal)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for garnish
- 1 5-ounce package baby spinach leaves
- Couscous with Fresh Cilantro and Lemon Juice
- Lemon wedges (for garnish)
Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet.
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. 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 sticks. Season tagine with salt and pepper. Spoon couscous into bowls; top with tagine. Garnish with cilantro and lemons.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Moroccan Beef Meatball Tagine