I own more than a dozen stunning cookbooks and yet time and time again, my go to favorite is my tagine cookbook. Excluding the fact that I adore Moroccan food (I could seriously live on couscous), a tagine is such a simple thing to make. One stop shopping or in the case of a tagine, one pot cooking…literally. While I had originally looked through the pages of my Biltmore cookbook, another favorite of mine, all of the recipes in its fall section were much more complicated not to mention rather elaborate when I was cooking for just two people. So I went to my tagine cookbook and while based on past blog posts it may seem that I’ve made a lot of tagines over the past five months, there are still many of I haven’t tried although honestly I don’t know if I’ll ever attempt any of the fish tagine recipes (I’m a very selective fish eater).
Kefta are poached meatballs and while I made mine with ground pork as that is what I had on hand (hey, waste not want not), the recipe called for ground lamb although ground beef or turkey would also work fine too. The recipe wrote the following of the recipe: “Variations of this great street dish can be found throughout the Maghreb. Kefta are usually quite fiery, so serve them with bread, parsley, and yogurt to temper their heat.” While my eggs didn’t set nearly as beautifully as those in the cookbook’s picture, I believe this was due to the fact that I had too many kefta for the size of my tagine dish.
If you’ve never tried a tagine before I highly recommend doing so even if the idea of Moroccan food seems much too exotic for you. I promise it’s not in addition it may even have you become hooked on it.
Kefta Tagine with Eggs & Roasted Cumin
Recipe from Tagine: Spicy Stews from Morocco by Ghillie Basan
FOR THE KEFTA
8 OZ. GROUND LAMB
1 ONION, FINELY CHOPPED
1 TEASPOON DRIED MINT
1-2 TEASPOONS RAS-EL-HANOUT
1/2 TEASPOON CAYENNE
A SMALL BUNCH OF FRESH FLATLEAF PARSLEY, FINELY CHOPPED
SEA SALT & FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1 TABLESPOON BUTTER
1/4-1/2 TEASPOON SALT
1 TEASPOON CAYENNE PEPPER OR CHOPPED DRIED CHILES
4 MEDIUM OR LARGE EGGS
1-2 TEASPOONS CUMIN SEEDS, DRY-ROASTED AND GROUND
A SMALL BUNCH OF FRESH FLATLEAF PARSLEY, ROUGHLY CHOPPED
To make the kefta, put the ground lamb, onion, mint, ras-el-hanout, cayenne, and parsley in a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well together. Using your hands, knead the mixture and mold it into small bowls, roughly the size of a shooter marble, so that you end up with about 12 balls.
Fill a tagine or casserole dish with water and bring it to a boil. Carefully drop in the kefta, a few at a time, and poach them for about 10 minutes, turning them so that they are cooked on all sides. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve roughly 1 1/4 cups of the cooking liquid. (If not using the kefta immediately, transfer them to a plate to cool and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.)
Add the butter to the reserved cooking liquid in the tagine and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the salt and cayenne and drop in the poached kefta. Cook over high heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Carefully crack the eggs around the kefta, cover the tagine with a lid, and let the eggs cook in the sauce and steam until they are just set. Sprinkle the roasted cumin seeds and the chopped parsley over the top of the dish. Serve immediately.
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