Spiced Moroccan Lamb Meatballs

When I first moved to the South West of England my first meal out was at this amazing little Moroccan restaurant in Bristol. We were in the process of buying a flat, so living at Sam’s parents and working in the city, which resulted in long commutes and a very limited social life. One occasion that I did get out we went to ‘La Casbah’, and it was fabulous! I had the most amazing meatballs and I have been trying to replicate them ever since.

When we eventually moved to Bristol this restaurant became a regular favourite of ours, and the meatballs remained the best thing on the menu (although Sam may argue it was the swordfish)! As we have now moved to Surrey I have been pining after them and testing out recipes that would do them justice, and I think I have finally cracked it! This recipe is deliciously rich, spicy and full of those wonderful Moroccan aromas that make it impossible to put your fork down.

If you fancy tasting this for yourselves (I would invite you round for dinner but I don’t think you’ll all fit in our house) and are in the Bristol area then head to St Marks Road and check out ‘La Casbah’, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Or, if you are nowhere near Bristol but are tempted by an awesome meatball mouthful, then just make this recipe yourself; its easy, delicious and will have you making it again and again and again!

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Serves 4 with sides.

For the meatballs

  • Splash olive oil
  • 1 red onion – peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g courgette – grated
  • 3 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped
  • 400g pack mince lamb
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp oil – for frying

For the sauce

  • 1 courgette – sliced
  • 1 red onion – peeled into chunks
  • 1 red pepper –cut into chunks
  • Splash olive oil
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 5 sundried tomatoes – sliced
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce (I’ll let you pick the heat)

To serve

  • Cous cous
  • Salad
  • Houmous or tzatzi (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 160’C

To make the meatballs, heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion until soft.

Add the courgette and garlic and cook until all the excess liquid has gone from the courgettes.

Add the onion mix to a large bowl with the remaining meatball ingredients and give it a good mix together – don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty at this point.

Divide into 16 and shape into balls.

Chill the meatballs for 20 minutes to firm up.

While meatballs are chilling, heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and the pepper together for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the courgettes and fry for another 3-5 minutes to soften.

Add the tinned toms, sundried tomatoes and chilli sauce.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and then transfer to a tagine, or other oven proof dish and place in the oven.

Once your sauce is cooking in the oven, heat a large frying with oil and fry the meatballs, turning regularly until browned all over.

Add the meatballs to the Tagine pot and then cook for 45 minutes to an hour to create a lovely rich dish.

Serve with cous cous, salad and any additional Moroccan dips you might fancy.

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