Moving across the Mediterranean from France to Morocco I found a wonderful recipe on Rick Steins Mediterranean Odyssey. I have tried it out and found it really great comfort food. Food for a cold winters night snuggled up with a loved one.
The Tajine is a Moroccan earthen wear pot used for slow cooking cooking stews. The funnel shaped lid keeps the dish moist by trapping steam in. It also allows you to take it off every so often to inspect your creation without burning your fingers. The bottom of a Tajine dish can be used to present your dish. Serve with a basket of flat bread and perhaps a simple salad.
Ingredients for 2 People
The ingredients are broken into two parts, the Kofta’s and the Sauce.
Lamb Kofta (meatballs)
500g Lamb Mince
A Handful of Chopped Fresh Parsley
Salt and Pepper to Season
2tbsp Olive Oil
- For the Sauce
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 Large Onion
1tsp of Cumin
1tsp of Paprika
1tbsp Tomato Pure
6 Tomatoes – Pealed and chopped (don’t discard the seeds as these will add extra liquid later in the dish).
A handful of fresh corriander
- To serve
Warm Pitta Bread
Green Vegetables or a simple Salad
Making the dish in two stages I will begin with the Kofta’s or meatballs. In a large mixing bowl add the Mince, Parsley, 1tsp of Cumin, 1tsp of Paprika and Salt & Pepper to taste. I find the best way to mix it all together is to use your hands.
Take small amounts of the mixture and roll it into balls. The mixture should make about 110-12 Kofta depending upon how big you make them. I find the dish is faster to make when they are smaller.
Heat the Olive Oill in the Tajine, if you don’t have one then use a large heavy bottomed sauce pan with a lid. Have a plate with some kitchen papper ready to transfer the Koftas to. You want the oil hot enough to brown the meatballs so make sure its up to temperature by dropping a couple of pieces of the onion in. If it sizzels on contact the oil is hot enough. Add the Kofta to the pan and cook for around 5-10 minutes over a medium heat. You want to colour the meat and help the Kofta’s hold together. Once brown remove from the pan and set to one side on some kitchen papper to absorb the excess oil.
Next to make the sauce. Add the Onion and Garlic to the same pan you browned the Kofta’s in and soften over a medium heat. Once the onion is translucent add 1tsp each of Cumin & Paprika and 1tbsp of Tomato Pure. Stir together coating the onions. Add the Chopped Tomato and stir to combine. Bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Now add the Kofta back to the pan cover and simmer for around 20 minutes. Remember to stir every so often to prevent it burning on the bottom.
For the last 3 minutes remove the lid and make four wells in the sauce. Crack an egg into each well. They should be seperate so you have four lightly poached eggs. Pop the lid back on for the last 3 minutes. When the eggs are lightly poached your almost done. Add in the handful of chopped Corriander, reserving a little to garnish and gently stir through without breaking your eggs.
Serve each person with a generose portion of Kofta’s and sauce placing 2 of the poached eggs on top. Sprinkle a little corriander on top and serve with some warm Pitta bread and hommous. Serve with a simple salad or some greens if you’d like.
I could eat this all year round but find its best as the nights draw in and it starts to get a little colder, enjoyed with a good strong Rioja .