Kefta Mkaouara

Ingredients (serves 4):
3 tbsp olive oil
4 very fresh medium-size free-range eggs
a small handful fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped, to garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the meatballs:
1 pound minced beef or lamb
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp hot paprika

For the sauce:
1 medium onion, finely chopped
900 g ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped or 2 x 400-g cans chopped tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
For the meatballs, put the minced beef, parsley, cumin, paprika, 1 tsp salt and some freshly ground black pepper into a bowl and mix together well using your hands. Dampen your hands and from the mixture into about 28 2.5-cm balls.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a shallow tagine or frying pan and brown the meatballs briefly on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and set to one side.

Add the onion for the sauce to the pan with the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook gently for 10 minutes until very soft and just beginning to brown. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and leave to simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until well concentrated in flavour but not too thick. Season well with salt to taste.

Return the meatballs to the sauce and mix together. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish if you have prepared the sauce in a frying pan, otherwise leave the mixture in the tagine. Make 4 slight dips in the mixture and break an egg into each one.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Scatter with the chopped coriander and serve.

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