Meatballs are one of my favorite ways to eat meat. I’m not a big pasta person, so I ventured out to find a recipe that dosen’t involve spaghetti, or a sandwich. I came across North African Meatball recipe on foodnetwork.com.  What drew me to this recipes verse all the others is the couscous  and use of a lot of spices. I did not make many changes to the recipe.. I just used ground oats instead of breadcrumbs and did not add the sugar or dates to the couscous.

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1/4 Chicken stock or broth
  • 1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried pepper flakes
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper
Ingredients for Meatballs:
  • 3/4 pound of ground beef (85%)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
  • 3 Tbs chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1/3 Cup of ground rolled oats
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for Couscous

  • 2 cups of couscous
  • 2 cups of water
  • salt and pepper

1.) First you want to start out making the sauce.  In a large saucepan saute the onion and garlic with olive oil. After they have turned soft, and the lemon zest. After a minute of cooking add the white wine and deglaze the pan. Stir in the stock, canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes and pinch of cinnamon. Let simmer for about seven minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2.) The meatballs: In a bowl, whisk together the egg  and tomato paste till smooth. Add the cilantro, ginger, cumin and cinnamon, blend well. Using your hands stir in the ground beef and rolled oats, add salt and pepper to taste. With your hands roll out the meatballs. The recipe called for 1 inch in diameter but I rather them a bit bigger. My batch made about 20 meatballs. If you choose to make them smaller you should get about 32 meatballs.

3.) In a sepatate pan brown the meatballs over medium heat. Add more olive oil if necessary. Transfer the meatballs to the sauce pan and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Stir meatballs ocassionally with the sauce.

4.) The couscous: I choose to make plain couscous. Put two cups of couscous in a medium bowl and pour three cups of boiling water. Let sit for a half hour to an hour. When the water has absorbed run a fork through the couscous to remove any clumps.

5.) Serve meatball and sauce over couscous. Enjoy with a piece of baguette!