Meatball Tagine With Herbs and Lemon

Meatball Tagine With Herbs and Lemon

Time: 1 hrs 20 mins


  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 egg
  • 18 ounces ground lamb or 18 ounces ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  • 1 Prepare the meatballs: put the onion and parsley in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  • 2 Tear the bread into pieces, add to the onion, along with the egg, and process briefly.
  • 3 Add the meat, cumin, paprika, pepper and 1 teaspoons salt and process to a thick paste, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally.
  • 4 Alternative preparation: grate the onion, chop the parsley, crumb the bread, and add to the meat in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Knead until the mixture is paste like in consistency.
  • 5 With moistened hands, shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls and place them on a tray. Cover and refrigerate until required.
  • 6 Prepare the sauce: heat the butter or oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook over low heat until softened and golden.
  • 7 Add the paprika, turmeric, cumin and chili or cayenne pepper, and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
  • 8 Add the chicken stock and cilantro and bring to a boil.
  • 9 Add the meatballs to the pan, shaking so that they settle into the sauce. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • 10 Add most of the parsley and the lemon juice and season, if necessary. Return to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • 11 If using preserved lemon, add now.
  • 12 Transfer to a tagine or bowl, and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
  • 13 Note 1: author suggests serving with crusty bread. I also suggest rice or couscous.
  • 14 Note 2: I substituted a yellow curry powder for the turmeric, as turmeric is a principal ingredient in curry powder.
  • 15 Note 3: I sometimes need to add a little additional stock for the sauce, depending on the pot I use.
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