Kefta Mkaouara, or Moroccan-spiced meatballs

Oh the joy of a sale when you have no money. Right now my local supermarket has loads of stuff half-price so I am stocking up (as far as that is possible without a freezer) on cheap cuts whilst I can. Like meatballs. Which have the virtue of being not only thrifty but also quick and, aha, depending on the ones you get, wheat- and carb-free too.

I thought about cooking them in an Italian-inspired tomato sauce with Parmesan and basil and then I remembered this recipe: a combination of a spicy, Moroccan sauce, meatballs and eggs. Reminiscent of shakshuka, the addition of the meat makes it rather more sturdy yet still perfect for midweek speed and comfort. There are tons of recipes on the net for it but, once you have made it, you’ll find it’s one of those dishes you can make from memory: brown meatballs; make tomato sauce; add meatballs to tomato sauce; add eggs and parsley; serve with yogurt. This is my version but it lends itself to adapting to taste. And, obviously, you could make your own meatballs, if you wanted to personalise it even further. Swift, store-cupboard-friendly, one-pot: delicious on all fronts.

Kefta Mkaouara

Makes enough for 2

Cupboard (or things you may already have)
onion, ½
garlic cloves, 2
olive oil
ground cumin, ½
cayenne pepper, ½ tsp
tomato purée, 1 tbsp
tinned tomatoes, 400g
salt and pepper
eggs, 4
natural yogurt, to serve

Shopping list
red pepper
meatballs, 400g
harissa, 1 tsp
flat-leaf parsley, small handful

How to
1. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic then de-stalk and deseed the red pepper and chop into small pieces.
2. Heat a little olive oil in a lidded frying pan or casserole, add the meatballs and brown them all over.
3. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan, add the onion and garlic and cook together for a few minutes then stir in the red pepper and cook until soft.
4. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook gently for a couple of minutes then stir in the tomato purée, tomatoes and harissa, season and bring the sauce to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened.
5. Once the sauce is thick, return the meatballs to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes more or until cooked through completely and hot. Whilst the meatballs are reheating, wash and chop the parsley then stir in.
6. Finally, make four small dips in the sauce, break an egg into each one then cover the pan and cook until the whites are set but the yolks are just runny.
7. Serve immediately. A dollop of thick natural yogurt is a perfect finishing touch.

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