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What is Kefta?
Kefta is a very popular food in Morocco. It is seasoned ground meatballs (kefta mkaouara) and traditionally kefta is served along with a super sweet teapot of Moroccan mint tea.
The only “real work” involved in cooking up this kefta tagine is the making of the meatballs. We season some minced meat, then roll them into balls. This whole process takes about 20 minutes, maybe.
If you are feeling lazy, or just plain can’t be bothered, go ahead and use shop bought lamb or beef meatballs. I’m not going to judge. The result will be just as delicious.
Just one thing to bear in mind is that Moroccan meatballs tend to be on the small side, like a large marble. So if you can, buy mini meatballs.
Moroccan tradition is to gather round the tagine and eat communally from the dish, using pieces of Moroccan bread to scoop up the meatballs and sauce. For a truly authentic experience, consider serving the kefta tagine with Moroccan mint tea.
How To Prepare Kefta (Moroccan Meatballs)
There isn’t anything particularly difficult or complicated about making this recipe. The keftas (aka kofta, meatballs) themselves are pretty straight forward, flavored with paprika and cumin, typical North African spices.
Many cooks like to present the meatball tagine with eggs poached directly in the sauce, but this addition is optional. Olives are sometimes added, and for a little extra heat, throw in some ground cayenne or fresh chili peppers.
Although a clay or ceramic tagine is the traditional cooking vessel of choice, a deep skillet will work just as well. In either case, allow ample time for the diced tomatoes to reduce to a thick sauce before adding the meatballs.
Some cooks prefer to grate tomatoes rather than peel, seed, and chop them. This can slightly shorten the cooking time. If you like extra sauce, you might want to increase the tomato sauce by half.
Because the meatballs are so tiny, they don’t require a long cooking time. There’s no need to fry them before adding them to the sauce, and once in the pot you should poach them only long enough to cook through.
How To Serve Kefta Mkaouara
As with any tagine, this meatball tagine is just perfect with bread. It would traditionally be served with khobz, but you can pretty much please yourself.
It also goes well with couscous, naturally, and any other grain you like. Some love it with rice or garlic bread.
And on that note, shall we get our aprons on? If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment .Thank you!
Kefta – Moroccan Meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout (optional)
- 1/2 cup water
- Combine the ground beef with half of the minced garlic and a tablespoon of chopped onion.
- Mix with your hands until fully incorporated. Shape the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch oblong patties; you should have 12 to 14 meatballs.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the patties in batches until they are crispy on both sides and are no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes. Set the meatballs aside in a rimmed serving dish and repeat with the remaining patties.
- Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the remaining chopped onion.
- Add salt and pepper. Cook the onions in the drippings, stirring constantly, until the onion has softened and turned translucent about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining half of the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the roma tomatoes, dried parsley, ras el hanout, and water.
- Cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs and serve.