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.
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
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
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.