Tuesday, August 25, 2009

North African Meatballs & Couscous with Dates

So I tried The Food Network's Melissa D'Arabian's recipe from last week's show. It was a hit with all but two in my family and even those two liked it, just didn't want as much sauce as the rest of us. It had very different flavors than I usually cook with, which was great. Good to shake things up once in awhile. My only complaint was that there weren't any leftovers. I wanted more later.

North African Sauce:


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, zested
1/2 cup pitted and chopped briny olives (I purchased just the right amount off the olive bar at our Smith's)
1/2 cup white wine (I subsituted diluted apple juice)
1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
1 (14-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Pinch ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and olives and cook for 1 more minute. Add the white wine, deglaze the pan, and let it reduce for a 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, canned tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon, and simmer to blend flavors, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.



1 egg
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch ground cinnamon
3/4 pound ground beef
1/3 cup finely ground rolled oats or fine bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for cooking
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


In a medium bowl, add the egg and tomato paste and stir until smooth. Add the cilantro, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon and mix until well blended. Stir in the ground beef and oats, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and combine gently after each addition. Do not overmix. Rolling with your hands, make about 32 meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter.
In a large saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat, and brown the meatballs in batches until golden on all sides. Add more oil, as needed. Transfer the meatballs to the pan with the sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve over Couscous with Dried Dates.


Lisa said...

those meatballs & sauce look amazing. as for the couscous...what on earth is it?!

Lisa said...

i used only bottled spaghetti sauce for the first few years of our marriage. then i started dressing up the bottled spaghetti sauce with garlic & spices & sausage. now i love to make my own spaghetti sauce. it tastes so much more fresh that i can't believe it. basically it is canned (or fresh) tomatoes, garlic, sugar, basil, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. i don't measure much. i usually add sausage. it sure makes for a great spaghetti.

. said...

Kerry, that looks awesome. You'll have to make it for me sometime!!!!!!!!

As far as sauce goes, I just use a can of tomatoes and pulverize them with my blender. They say fruit and vegetables that are canned are picked at the top of ripeness. It's nice because I can buy a case of tomato's and have them on hand whenever I need them. I use this pulverized puree instead of condensed tomato soup in recipes. It taste really fresh. I use it in my shepard's pie recipe and add ketchup to sweeten it up. It's so good!

. said...

Unfortunately I don't know how to put my name on my last comment. It's me Maria!

Scott / Lori said...

My kids love meatballs so I will have to give these a try. Perhaps I better leave some without the sauce as well.