For breakfast or dinner, a meatball tagine hits the spot. Warmly spiced tomato sauce and meatballs are simmered together then topped with runny baked eggs that give the dish a creamy texture. Deeply flavorful and packed with protein and antioxidant-rich herbs and spices, a meatball tagine is immensely satisfying.
Traditionally called Kefta Mkaouara (meatball tagine with tomato and eggs), this Moroccan meal is traditionally cooked in a tagine, an earthenware pot with low sides and a cone-shaped cover. But have no fear; a wide saucepan with a lid works just as well.
The abundance of herbs and spices in a meatball tagine are what really make the dish sing. The meat and sauce are spiced, but not spicy (unless you’re generous with the cayenne). Cinnamon and turmeric are the big hitters here, with their powerful healing properties.
So grab a spoon and dig in. When you get to the bottom, you’ll be licking the bowl clean. For a vegetarian version of this delicious meal, try Shakshuka.
Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour 15 minute
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter (30 ml)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 teaspoon sweet paprika (5 ml)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (2.5 ml)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon salt (2.5 ml)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (a pinch)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (a pinch)
28-ounces (790 g) of whole canned/boxed tomatoes in their juice (broken up with your hands or a food processor) or 28-ounces canned/boxed diced tomatoes in juice or 2 lbs. (about 1 kg) fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (30 ml
In a wide (11 or 12 inch/30 cm) saucepan or dutch oven with a lid, heat the olive oil/ butter for the tomato sauce. Add the garlic and sauté a few minutes. Add the spices and mix well then add the tomatoes. Bring to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
While the sauce is simmering, use your hands to combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape the mixture into small meatballs about 1- inch in diameter.
Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce along with the 1/4-cup of saffron water. Cover and gently simmer for 30 minutes.
Crack the eggs into the sauce. Cover and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.