Following on from the North African food theme I’ve been developing lately, here’s a simple and yummy recipe for Moroccan Lamb Meatballs, served with a Sweet Potato and Apricot Mash. This is a wheat-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free recipe. It’s Paleo at it’s best.
The mash is a Paleo diet variant to rice, or couscous. Anything really goes with these meatballs, but Moroccan cooks love to use Apricots in traditionally savoury dishes. The natural sweetness of the ingredients in the mash warms the gentle kick the chilli provides in the lamb. Ying and yang at their best here.
Here’s what you’ll need
Let’s get cooking!
- 600g Lamb mince
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 ripe vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- Juice from ½ an orange
- 8 dried apricots, chopped into 3’s
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 3 tsp of Turmeric
- 3 tsp of Paprika
- 2 tsp of Cumin (ground)
- 2 tsp of Cinnamon
- 1 tsp of Nutmeg
- Crushed black pepper
- Chopped fresh coriander to garnish.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7.
- Place a pan of water on the boil.
- Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into large chunks.
- Dice the onion, garlic, chilli, tomatoes and apricots.
- Mix all the spices together. Separate so you have half set aside for the meatballs and half for the mash.
- Prepare a baking tray with foil.
- In the saucepan of boiling water, place the sweet potato chunks.
- In a shallow pan, sauté the onion and garlic with a little oil, splash in the orange juice.
- When brown, remove half of the mixture and set aside (for the meatballs).
- Add the tomatoes and apricots, add half of the spice mixture.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of the water from the pan of sweet potatoes and leave to simmer gently.
- Once the sweet potatoes are soft, drain the water from the pan. Using the same pan, add in the ingredients prepared above.
- Place the lamb mince in a large bowl.
- Add the other half of the spice mixture, the onion and garlic mix you set aside earlier, chilli and the egg.
- Grind in some black pepper (If you want, add a pinch of salt)
- Mix with your hands!
- Mould the mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a foil lined baking tray.
- Cook for 15 minutes.
- Optional: Remove from the oven and place on a plate.
- Drain the foil of the fat that would have naturally been produced.
- Place the meatballs back on the tray and finish for 5 more minutes in the oven.
- Or just cook straight for 20 minutes.
- Serve with a touch of coriander.
When rolling the balls, don’t use flour of any kind. Simply wet your hands in a bowl of cold water before moulding each meatball. This way the mixture won’t stick to your hands at all, which meals less mess to deal with.
If you don’t have an orange don’t use orange juice from a carton. I stopped drinking orange juice a long time ago after reading this article.
The article talks about how isn’t it bizarre that all orange juice tastes the same. I too never really thought about orange juice being anything other than juice from oranges. Have you ever made orange juice at home? How different does it taste compared to brands like Tropicana? It really opened my eyes and I don’t buy it anymore.
I’ve meandered off there for a moment. Back to the lamb!
Enjoy and as ever, let me know what you think – besseha as they say in Morocco!