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North African Spiced Meatballs

Ground beef meatballs full of bold spices and simmered in a saffron tomato sauce.
North African Spiced Meatballs

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Servings: 4
Total Time: 30 minutes
Recipe by: Rae


1 1/2 cups day-old white bread, torn to 1 inch pieces
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 TBSP chopped parsley
3 TBSP chopped cilantro
3 TBSP scallion, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 large egg, beaten
2 TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP tomato paste
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/16 tsp saffron, crumbled
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups water


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Make the meatballs: In a small bowl combine the bread and milk and allow to soak for 5 minutes while you gather your spices.

3. In a large bowl combine all dry spices (salt, pepper, granulated garlic, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper, cloves, coriander, cumin) and 2 TBSP of each: chopped parsley, cilantro, and scallion and mix well. Squeeze out the bread and add it to the spices (discard the remaining milk). Add the ground beef and egg and stir together until well incorporated. Make 16-18 1-ounce balls and set them on a baking sheet.

4. Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven until browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

5. In the meantime make the sauce: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan. Add onion and cook without browning until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, cinnamon and saffron, and stir well to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper, and allow to cook for 1 minute more. Add water and simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Toss the meatballs in the sauce and pour into a casserole dish. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

7. Serve garnished with the remaining chopped parsley, cilantro, and scallions.

Notes & Tips

Meatballs are shown above served with couscous

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