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Tender, sweet North African meatballs in a tomato-garlic sauce
Milk Street Bowtie Moroccan Meatball Tagine with Green Olives and Lemon

Moroccan Meatball Tagine with Green Olives and Lemon

1 hour 15 minutes

Free

This tagine is traditionally served with eggs, poached in the flavorful sauce. Serve the tagine directly from the skillet, using a spoon to break the eggs and let the yolks run into the sauce. Offer crusty bread, naan or pita to soak up the sauce.

1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
10 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup panko
1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 large eggs, cracked into a small bowl
Ingredients
  • cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped

  • 2

    tablespoons grated lemon zest

  • 1

    28-ounce can whole tomatoes

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter

  • 1

    large yellow onion, finely chopped

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 10

    medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 2

    tablespoons ground cumin

  • 1

    tablespoon ground coriander

  • 1

    teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1

    cup low-sodium beef broth

  • ½

    cup panko

  • 1

    pound 90 percent lean ground beef

  • 1

    cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided

  • 2

    large eggs, cracked into a small bowl

Directions
  1. 01
    In a small bowl, stir together the olives and lemon zest; set aside. In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juice until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, melt the butter. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and pepper flakes, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Transfer ½ cup of the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
    See Demo
  2. 02
    Return the skillet to medium and add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cover and cook until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Remove from the heat.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    While the sauce simmers, stir the panko and ½ cup water into the reserved onion mixture. Let stand until the panko softens, about 5 minutes, then use your hands to mash to a smooth paste. Add the beef, ½ cup of cilantro, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide into 16 (2-tablespoon) portions, rolling them into smooth balls. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
    See Demo
  4. 04
    Return the sauce to medium and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs in a single layer, then spoon sauce over each. Cover, reduce to low and cook for 15 minutes. Flip each meatball, then continue to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Push the meatballs to the sides of the skillet. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Gently pour the eggs into the center, cover and cook over medium-low until the egg whites are barely set and yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes. Off heat, sprinkle the olive mixture and remaining ½ cup cilantro over the tagine.
    See Demo
Tip: Don’t use ground beef less than 90 percent lean or the sauce will be greasy. Also, don't overcook the eggs; the yolks should remain runny so they mix with the sauce.
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Moroccan Meatball Tagine with Green Olives and Lemon

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

1 hour 15 minutes

Tip

Don’t use ground beef less than 90 percent lean or the sauce will be greasy. Also, don't overcook the eggs; the yolks should remain runny so they mix with the sauce.

Ingredients
  • cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped

  • 2

    tablespoons grated lemon zest

  • 1

    28-ounce can whole tomatoes

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter

  • 1

    large yellow onion, finely chopped

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 10

    medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 2

    tablespoons ground cumin

  • 1

    tablespoon ground coriander

  • 1

    teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1

    cup low-sodium beef broth

  • ½

    cup panko

  • 1

    pound 90 percent lean ground beef

  • 1

    cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided

  • 2

    large eggs, cracked into a small bowl

Step 1 of 4

Puree and cook

cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
2
tablespoons grated lemon zest
1
28-ounce can whole tomatoes
4
tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter
1
large yellow onion, finely chopped
½
teaspoon kosher salt
10
medium garlic cloves, minced
2
tablespoons ground cumin
1
tablespoon ground coriander
1
teaspoon cinnamon
½
teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a small bowl, stir together the olives and lemon zest; set aside. In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juice until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, melt the butter. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt.


Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and pepper flakes, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Transfer ½ cup of the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

Step 2 of 4

Add the broth and tomatoes

1
cup low-sodium beef broth
1
28-ounce can whole tomatoes

Return the skillet to medium and add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cover and cook until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Remove from the heat.

Step 3 of 4

Create the paste, add the beef, and make the meatballs

½
cup panko
½
cup water
1
pound 90 percent lean ground beef
½
cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1
teaspoon kosher salt
1
teaspoon ground black pepper

While the sauce simmers, stir the panko and ½ cup water into the reserved onion mixture. Let stand until the panko softens, about 5 minutes, then use your hands to mash to a smooth paste.


Add the beef, ½ cup of cilantro, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide into 16 (2-tablespoon) portions, rolling them into smooth balls. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Step 4 of 4

Cook the meatballs, add the eggs and serve

2
large eggs, cracked into a small bowl
½
cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Return the sauce to medium and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs in a single layer, then spoon sauce over each. Cover, reduce to low and cook for 15 minutes. Flip each meatball, then continue to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.


Push the meatballs to the sides of the skillet. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Gently pour the eggs into the center, cover and cook over medium-low until the egg whites are barely set and yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes. Off heat, sprinkle the olive mixture and remaining ½ cup cilantro over the tagine.

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