117 Morocco – Kefta with Saffron Tomato Sauce

117 Morocco - Meatballs

Kefta with Saffron Tomato Sauce

These meatballs are great change of pace from the usual Italian or Swedish varieties. This sauce was light and flavorful which soaked into meatballs. I also liked that the sauce  wasn’t thick and heavy.



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 and 1/2 cups finely diced onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 inch piece cinnamon stick

Large pinch saffron, crumbled

Salt and pepper

3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water


1 and 1/2 cups cubed day ­old firm white bread

1 cup milk

1 pound ground beef or lamb

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1⁄8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons paprika

1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves

1⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons chopped parsley 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion

All ­purpose flour, for dusting Olive oil or vegetable oil


1 cup giant couscous, m’hamsa, or medium couscous

2 tablespoons butter

1⁄2 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water to soften, then drained


1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Step 1

Make the sauce: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add onion and cook without browning until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, cinnamon and saffron, and stir well to incorporate. Season generously with salt and pepper, and allow to sizzle for 1 minute more. Add broth and simmer gently for 5 minutes. May be made several hours in advance, up to a day.

Step 2

Make the meatballs: Put bread cubes and milk in a small bowl. Leave bread to soak until softened, about 5 minutes, then squeeze dry.

Step 3

In a mixing bowl, put squeezed-out bread, ground meat and egg. Add salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, cloves, coriander and cumin. Mix well with hands to distribute seasoning. Add 2 tablespoons each of parsley, cilantro and scallion, and knead for a minute. May be prepared several hours in advance, up to a day.

Step 4

With hands, roll mixture into small round balls about the size of a quarter. Dust balls lightly with flour. Heat a few tablespoons of oil, or a quarter-inch depth, over medium-high heat and fry meatballs until barely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Drain and blot on paper towel. Simmer meatballs in saffron-tomato sauce, covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until tender.

Step 5

Meanwhile, make the couscous, if desired: Cook according to package directions, fluff gently and stir in butter and raisins. Season with salt and cinnamon, and toss well.

Step 6

Garnish meatballs with remaining parsley, cilantro and scallion. Serve with couscous and roasted tomatoes if desired.

Original recipe found here:


Author: martymadeitproductions

A Home Chef's Journey

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