Monday, 14 November 2011

Moroccan inspired Beef Meat balls

Last night we had a nice homemade Mexican inspired Chilli con Carne and I had a lot of beef mince left that I hadn't cooked. I prepared some meatballs with no specific seasoning so we could see what the inspiration of the day was. I just finely diced some 2 brown onions, 2 cloves of garlic, and some dried Mixed Herbs. I shaped them into balls and left them covered in the fridge overnight.

Tonight I made the dish.
Tomatoes (I used 3 fresh ones)- and only if you want to make the sauce from scratch, otherwise half a tin of tomatoes in their juices will do the trick.
1 teaspoon of beef stock
1 cup of water (just boiled or hot)
Special blend of spices called "Arabic seven spices" which has: ginger, Mahlabi, black pepper, pimento, cassia, cloves, nutmeg, coriander and cardamon. (see note).
4 dried apricots, cut in smallish cubes
1 1/2 cup of cooked couscous (prepared according the instructions on the package or like I do, however you want as long as it taste good)
A handful of almonds and pine nuts

Before boiling the tomatoes, make a little cross incision at the bottom of each ones and prepared a cold bath (just water and ice cube) to submerge them straight after boiling to stop them from cooking too much.
Peel, process to a smooth sauce and pass them through a sieve before cooking the tomato sauce with a teaspoon of beef stock, a cup of water (boiled), the spices and the dried apricots.

Pan fry the meatballs, just to get them golden brown on the outside. Add the sauce and place in the oven for about 40 minutes to fully cook.

Cut (or smash) the almonds and mix them along with the pine nuts to the cooked couscous.

Once the meat is fully cooked serve with the couscous.

You will notice that I don't add any salt to my savoury recipes. On the advise of my midwife I cook everything with no added salt so my son can eat the same meals as we do. My husband and I just season to taste on our plates, although more times than not we don't add anymore. I try to get most of the flavor and seasoning from the Herbs and Spices I use.
The Arabic Seven Spice- to be quite honest the dominant flavor was the cinnamon. I have made similar dishes in the past and I only used Cinnamon, Ginger, Paprika, and Nutmeg. The combination of spices is really up to your taste, hence why I put the name of the recipe as Moroccan "inspired" beef meat balls. 
My son, who has decided to go on a special diet a few days ago (exclusively bread and cheese), cleared his plate (2 tablespoons of couscous and 4 meatballs). For a 16 months old I would say that is a good effort.

Hope you enjoy this recipe :) Please do not hesitate to send me the variations you have tried.

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