« Sunday Small Bites - mushrooms | Main | Happy Thanksgiving »

Sunday Small Bites - cranberries


Jan of Keep your Feet in the Street chose this week's ingredient. This very tart berry presented a challenge since my husband doesn’t like them that much. I wanted to make something that we both could eat so I searched for a recipe in which the cranberries were not at the top of the list of ingredients. I had a craving for some Moroccan flavors and searched for a recipe in which I could incorporate the cranberries. I found a recipe for spiced meatballs (kefta) in which I could sub the raisins for cranberries. It also gave me the chance to use some of the wonderful saffron I bought last year at the souk in Fez.

The recipe is for a main course but it can be a small bite by making the meatballs slightly smaller. At first glance, it may look like a complicated recipe but once I had all the ingredients at hand, everything came together pretty easily. We both loved this flavor-packed dish! I'm already planning on making it again. The only change I'd make to the recipe is leaving out the honey. My husband found it a bit too sweet for his taste.


Adapted from a recipe in Kitty Morse book, Cooking at the Kasbah.

Kefta Mahchiya
stuffed meatballs with dried fruit in sweet onion sauce

The kefta (meatballs):

1 lb twice-ground sirloin ( I used 1lb ground chicken)
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout spice blend
2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

2 eggs, hard boiled and sliced into wedges

The sauce:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil ( I used olive oil)
5 onions (about 2lbs), thinly sliced
1 large tomato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
a pinch of saffron
5 whole cloves
1 cup water
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup raisins or 1 cup mixed chopped dried fruit (I ended up using both raisins and cranberries)
1 tablespoon honey

Kefta preparation:

Mix the meat and grated onion. In a large bowl, combine the meat, bread crumbs, beaten egg, ras el hanout, salt and pepper. Mix well, using your hands and let it stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:

In a large pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat and add the onions, tomato, ras el hanout , cinnamon, ginger, saffron, cloves, and water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Discard the cloves and season with salt and pepper. Add the dried fruit and lower the temperature to simmer.

To assemble the kefta:

Spread about two tablespoons of the ground meat onto the palm of your hand to make a thin patty, about 3" in diameter. Place a wedge of egg in the center. Fold the meat around the egg and seal the edges. Set aside on a platter and continue until all the meat is used.

To cook the kefta:

Place the egg-filled kefta in the simmering sauce. Do not stir. Let simmer, covered for about 10-12 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through.

Comments (7)

I feel like Pavlov's dog. I am salivating! This sounds and looks just delicious. What great spices this contains. I'll have to print this recipe and give it a try sometime. Good choice.


It sounds like a very interesting recipe.

Hope your husband liked it.

Barb Cabot:

What a great recipe for this weeks cranberries. I will definitely try this exotic recipe. Sounds so wonderful.

Yum! What a beautiful dish. I love saffron and so many other of the flavors in this. Great idea to replace the raisins with cranberries.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, your dish looks so delicious. It has so many wonderful ingredients that I like. I would love to try it someday. Thanks so much for sharing it. I miss our group cooking and can't wait to rejoin everyone.

I want to wish you and your family a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!

This looks amazing! We had something similar in Greece (loks of middle eastern influences in the cooking there) without the cranberries, of course. LOL


Oh, I'll be definitely making this. Love those flavors, and the peek-a-boo surprise kefta.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)