You just can’t beat the sweet and spicy taste you get from a tagine. It is also a great way to use up any leftover meats. A Turkey Tagine is the perfect dish to use up any leftover turkey and you can easily add any chicken from a Sunday Roast. Middle Eastern food is one of my favourite cuisines. I love the use of fresh spices such as turmeric, cumin and coriander and delicious vegetables such as aubergines and juicy tomatoes, seasoned with paprika and preserved lemons, the use of nuts such as almonds and pistachios and served with lentils or couscous or my personal favourite, a crispy rice pilaf! I am a big fan of hummus, and not your supermarket kind, topped with roasted vegetables or meats and the creamy taste of tahini and perfect for dipping floury, soft bits of pitta bread into (and again not your supermarket kind of pitta!). And I love fresh salads such as fattoush and tabbouleh, served with lamb koftas or schawarma and topped with pomegranate. I absolutely adore the tastes and flavours of the Middle East and in my opinion we just don’t cook it enough.
This Parsley and Rosemary Meatball Tagine is the perfect midweek recipe to get your tagine fix. I use sultanas in the tomato sauce to give it a more subtle and delicate sweet flavour compared to chunks of dates that I would normally use. I add some toasted pine nuts and season the tomato sauce with parprika, cumin and a bit of harissa paste.
- 500g minced beef
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley (finely chopped)
- Few sprigs fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
- Zest of 1 lemon plus the lemon
- 70g sultanas
- 1 large aubergine (cut into small chunks)
- 2 tomatoes (roughly diced)
- 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbspn tomato puree
- 1 tspn smoked paprika
- 1 tspn cumin
- 1 red pepper (core removed and finely sliced)
- 50g pine nuts
- Olive oil
- Salt/ pepper
- 2 tbpsn dried breadcrumbs
- 1 tspn dried chilli flakes
- 1 tbspn harissa paste
- For the meatballs: add the minced beef, harissa paste, half of the parsley and rosemary, half of the lemon zest, breadcrumbs, half of the finely chopped onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, chilli flakes and salt and pepper and mix well with your hands until all the ingredients are combined. Roll up into small balls (about a tbpsn size of the mixture) and leave in the fridge.
- Heat a dash of olive oil in a large/ deep pan and add the rest of the onions and garlic. Cook on a gentle heat until the onions are soft but not over brown. Then add the red pepper and aubergine. Add a dash more of olive oil to the pan and cook on a gentle heat for around 5 mins.
- In the meantime heat a frying pan (without any oil). Add the pine nuts and lightly toast for around 5 mins max.
- Then add the fresh tomatoes, cumin, paprika and lemon zest. Stir in the tomato puree and harissa paste and then pour in the tinned tomatoes. Mix all the ingredients together and leave on a gentle simmer for just 3-4 mins.
- In the meantime add a dash of olive oil to a frying pan. Once hot add the meatballs and brown on each side. Then add the meatballs to the tagine with the toasted pine nuts and sultanas. Mix the ingredients gently so that the meatballs are coated in the sauce and then bring to a gentle simmer. Leave to simmer for around 20 mins until the sauce has reduced but is thick.
- Once done, take the pan off the heat and stir in the rest of the parsley and rosemary. Season with a bit more salt and pepper if needed and serve!
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