Moroccan Beef Meatball Tagine

Bon Appétit | January 2010

by Jean Thiel Kelley 

tagine is a Moroccan stew. In this version, tender beef meatballs are braised with vegetables, then served over herbed couscous.

Yield: Makes 6 servings
Meatballs:
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

Stew:
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)
For meatballs: 

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.

For stew: 

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.

Available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Per serving (analysis does not include Couscous with Fresh Cilantro and Lemon Juice): 407.2 kcal calories, 44.1% calories from fat, 20.0 g fat, 6.9 g saturated fat, 117.9 mg cholesterol, 28.6 g carbohydrates, 5.0 g dietary fiber, 13.1 g total sugars, 23.6 g net carbohydrates, 28.6 g protein
Nutritional analysis provided by Bon Appétit