This recipe is a get-your-hands-dirty crowd-pleaser. I first fell in love with Kefta tagine whilst living in Rabat, where this dish is often served up to hungry patrons in small cafés and makes a hearty, simple supper. Traditionally tagine is served with just Moroccan bread khobz, with no cutlery in sight. In the traditional Moroccan home, each family member will eagerly lean over the steaming tagine pot to scoop up the juicy meatballs, runny egg and the fragrant sauce within a rounded piece of bread. However don't feel obligated to imitate the Moroccan method as if you're anything like me it'll lead to a dribble of hot tomato sauce down your best white blouse. I'd recommend serving this with toasted flatbreads (make your own with this recipe) and in shallow bowls to accommodate the wonderful sauce.
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g lean lamb mince
1 small onion, diced finely
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp of hot paprika
1 tsp of mild chili powder
1 1/2 tsp of cumin
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped finely
1/4 bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
salt and pepper
A slosh of olive oil
1 onion, roughly diced
2x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of hot paprika
1 tsp of mild chilli powder
4 free-range medium eggs
a handful of chopped fresh parsley and coriander - leave extra for garnish
As an alternative to a tagine pot, you will need a deep casserole dish or a large saucepan with a lid (doesn't need to be oven-proof)
Place the mince, garlic, onion and fresh herbs for the meatballs in a food processor (you may need to do this in batches), blend them until the mince is smooth and the onions and herbs are small.
In a medium sized-bowl combine the ingredients and add the spices, mixing thoroughly with your hands (get stuck in !). Use your hands to roll the mixture into small meatballs (as pictured above). You shouldn't need to use an egg for binding, as if the mince is cold enough everything should stick together perfectly.
Begin to saute your onions in your pan/dish with a slosh of olive oil, as they begin to cook sprinkle them with the crushed garlic. Then place your meatballs gently on top of the layer of onions. Gently cook the meatballs, stirring very occasionally and gently (they may break apart slightly) until they are brown on the sides.
Pour in the tomatoes, they should mostly cover the meatballs. Add the spices, and gently stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and separate small areas among the meatballs for the eggs. Gently crack your eggs into the scoop-shape spaces you have made. Don't worry if they sink into the liquid, this is normal. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs, salt and pepper then cover, cooking for a further 7-10 mins. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.