Empty trolley+empty head+empty stomach=Moroccan Style Lamb Meatballs

 Moroccan style meatballs served with cous cous stir fried with courgette, apple and sweetcorn

This dish was the result of one of those strolls around a supermarket with an empty trolley, an empty head and an empty stomach.
Didn’t really know what I fancied to eat at all. Maybe wanted something a bit spicy, but not Indian (yes, I know that’s very unlike me. I did consider taking my temperature to ascertain whether or not I was coming down with something).
Also, I’d been eating rather a lot of rice, so something similar to rice, but not…. if you know what I mean, was required. Which led me to think of cous cous, which led me to think of lamb and tomatoes, which led me to think of something sweetish for the cous cous, which then decided my entire movement pattern through the supermarket.
It’s funny how one negative thought (ie. I don’t really feel like Indian again) in this instance led to a kind of chain reaction domino effect, which meant within seconds I knew exactly what I wanted to cook and what I wanted to put in it.
Hmmmmmmm…… If only I could transplant that process to writing music….

Anyway, enough twaddle, on with the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1/2 small bunch coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 egg (beaten)

For the sauce:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tblsp tomato puree
  • 2 red chillies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

For the cous cous:

  • enough cous cous for 2 people
  • 1 small tin sweetcorn
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 bramley apple
  • 1 small glass of red wine

Method:

First job is to make the meatballs.

Chop the onion, garlic and coriander as fine as you can possibly get them, then put them in a bowl with the mince and the rest of the meatballs ingredients. Get stuck in with your hands and mix well, then roll the meaballs in a circular motion between the palms of your hands.
You should eventually end up with something resembling this:

Meatballs rolled - as you can see, I could have done a better job chopping the onion

The next step is to make the sauce.
Chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and soften in a little olive oil, add the spices and chillies, fry briefly, then add the tomatoes, tomato puree, plus a little hot water, and the bay leaves and salt.
Bring to a gentle simmer then squeeze in the lemon:

Add the lemon to the simmering sauce

Now that the sauce is simmering away gently, it’s time to brown the meatballs.
Heat a little olive oil in a frypan and gently place the meatballs in, taking care not to overcrowd:

Fry the meatballs

When the meatballs are suitably browned, you can start adding them to the sauce.
Take extra care not to break them up or handle them to roughly:

Add the meatballs to the sauce. Be gentle

Eventually all the meatballs should fit neatly into the sauce pan. Leave to simmer gently with the lid on, while you cook the cous cous:

Meatballs in sauce

To make the cous cous, first prepare the cous cous with the appropriate amount of hot water as per the instructions on the packet.
Meanwhile chop the courgette and apple (cored and peeled) into small cubes.
Place the lamb frypan over the heat and deglaze with a glass of red wine (you can drink some as well if you wish).
Then add the courgette, apple and sweetcorn to the pan, fry round for a minute or two, and add the cous cous, which should now be ready (fork it into the pan though to fluff up).
Add some chopped coriander on top:

Cous cous

While you’ve been doing that, the meatballs should have been simmering away in the sauce, it’s flavour permeating them and itself being infused by their meaty sapidity.

The meatballs, having been simmered in the sauce and garnished with coriander

Everything is now ready to serve.

Not bad for a flash of inspiration in the cheese/yoghurts aisle I’d say.

If only everything was so simple…..

Served out

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