Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Lemon Couscous and a Garlic Tomato Sauce

By Saturday, May 05, 2012

I had a few friends over for dinner the other night and was thinking about what sort of meal I could make that would be relatively stress-free but still taste good. I have been wanting to try cooking with ras el hanout for a while and thought what better occasion than this to try it out! Ras el hanout is a Moroccan fusion of spices, consisting of cloves, cardamom, corriander, cumin, cayenne, chilli pepper, nutmeg, turmeric and peppercorn. It worked brilliantly with the Lamb, Mint and Lemon, giving the meatballs a subtle hint of spice. The tomato sauce prevented the couscous from being too dry and contrasted wonderfully with the lemon and mint couscous. This recipe made just enough for 6 people. I would definitely make it again - the prep wasn't too time consuming and I was very pleased with the end result!

You will need:

800g Lamb mince
60g breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
juice of 2 lemons
3 tbsp ras el hanout
1 egg
20g mint (finely chopped)
20g corriander (finely chopped)

For the Tomato Sauce:

3 tins chopped tomatoes
1 red onion (finely chopped)
3 garlic cloves (finely sliced)
salt pepper

For the Lemon Couscous:

600g couscous
zest and juice of 2 lemons
large handful of mint
knob of butter

Prepare the meatballs around an hour before serving in order to give time for them to rest in the fridge. Place the breadcrumbs, garlic and two to three tablespoons of water in a large mixing bowl. Stir so that the breadcrumbs have softened slightly.

Then add the mince, lemon juice, ras el hanout, corriander, mint, salt, pepper and egg. Using your hands stir the mixture together so that all of the ingredients are equally combined.

Get two trays out and using your hands form around 36 meatballs. Line up on the trays and cover with cling film. Leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

The rest of  the meal takes no more than 20 minutes to make and should preferably be served hot, so make sure you time it for when everyone will be ready to eat it!

For the tomato sauce, heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and add the onions and garlic. Heat on a medium heat for around 5 minutes until they soften. In the meantime, get a two heavy-based frying pans and heat 2 tablespoons of oil on a medium heat. Add the meatballs and fry for 8-10 minutes. Use some tongs to gently flip them to ensure they get a nice bit of colour on each side.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the garlic and onions and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Season well.

Place the couscous in a large mixing bowl and mix in the zest and a pinch of salt. Pour enough boiling water over the top so that it just covers the couscous, along with the lemon juice and butter. Cover with cling film and leave for 5 minutes.

Once the meatballs are nicely browned you can plate up and enjoy!

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