Moroccan Meatballs

Throwing a dinner party in Brooklyn can be a bit trying. While I am lucky enough to have what just might be the biggest kitchen in New York City, the rest of our space is much less…well…spacious. I think that our apartment is just under 700 square feet – that includes our bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and one big closet that has to serve as storage for anything that doesn’t have a permanent place on the bookshelf or in our living room. Don’t get me wrong, I love our apartment and I love New York, but sometimes I think it might be nice to have a dining room or a living room that is separate from the kitchen, or, perchance to dream, enough outdoor space to grill. One day we’ll realize that dream, but for now, when we have people over, we need to get a bit creative as far as how we go about serving food. Everything has to be easy to eat, but at the same time, delicious and filling. As much as I love sandwiches, those can get old, so when McCormick Spices asked me to be a part of their Dinner Party Chain along with their Go Gourmet promotion to launch some of their new gourmet spices, I got really excited! McCormick sponsored the party I threw for a few close friends, but all the opinions on their products are my own. McCormick is a brand that I think everyone knows and loves, so I want to share some of the recipes I created with their gourmet collection of spices. I love throwing parties, and I was really inspired by all of the new possibilities with these products. I was particularly interested in the ras el hanout spice blend, as well as their roasted cumin and dried mint flakes. I decided to go for a (vaguely) Moroccan theme with my dinner party, centering the meal about these Moroccan Meatballs. You can also enter for a chance to win your own dream dinner party, so I hope this makes you want to get out there and enter to win!

Moroccan food is something that I discovered after living in New York, and it’s absolutely addicting. All of the fragrant spices are irresistible, and there is always something new to try. I mentioned ras el hanout, which is a blend of turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, chili peppers, and more, and it really packs a punch of flavor. I also used some roasted coriander and extra roasted cumin from the gourmet spice collection by McCormick, and paired them all with a combination of ground lamb and ground beef. I fried the meatballs in a little bit of oil, then finished them off in a spicy tomato sauce. I liked to spread a bit of goat cheese on some bread and top it with the sauce and meatballs – the creamy goat cheese helped to cut through some of the heat of the meatballs, and the toasts were the perfect way to enjoy the meal as a whole. All of these meatballs were gone by the end of the night, and I made about 40 of them, so I think that I can confidently say that they were a big success. This is just the start of my week of dinner party food, so come back soon to see what else I made!

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Dinner is served.

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Kramer’s sister Rachel and our friend Emily.

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Kramer and Valerie (whose mom runs an awesome jewelry store, Jewelry Designs by Alice – I just bought these earrings and I love them).

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Morgan caught in the act.

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Morgan and Valerie’s boyfriend, Tom, being adorable together.

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Your ingredients.

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Mix together your meatball ingredients with your hands.

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Roll them into tablespoon-sized balls.

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Fry your meatballs in oil, then remove them and saute your shallots, then garlic and spices.

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Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and stock. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then add the meatballs back in and cook for 25-30 minutes.

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Serve warm with bread or vegetables.

Moroccan Meatballs
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Ingredients
For the Meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • ½ yellow onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ginger, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® ras el hanout
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick® roasted ground coriander
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons McCormick® ras el hanout
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick® roasted ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon McCormick® ground chili flakes (or more, depending on your preference)

Instructions
  1. Make your meatballs first. In a large bowl, mix together your lamb, onion, garlic, salt, ginger, ras el hanout, and ground coriander with clean hands. Line a baking sheet with foil, and roll tablespoon-sized balls together in your hands and place them on the sheet. Line another sheet with a thick layer of paper towels to drain the oil from the meatballs after they’ve been cooked and set it aside.
  2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large, high-sided pan over medium-high heat and fry the meatballs, in batches if necessary, for 5-7 minutes on all sides, until cooked through. Place them on the lined paper towels to drain and set aside.
  3. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of oil/fat from the pan and add in your minced shallots. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or so, until translucent, then add in the garlic. Cook for another minute or so, until fragrant, then add in the diced tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, ras el hanout, coriander, fennel, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Stir to combine, then turn the heat up and bring to a boil. After it’s boiling, reduce it to a simmer, add the meatballs back in, stir to coat them in the sauce, and cook for another 25 minutes or so, until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are hot. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve with some crusty bread or vegetables and enjoy. This will keep well as leftovers in an airtight container for 3 days.

12 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    those look fabulous!

  2. sara says:

    These meatballs look amazing! Wonderful flavors…I love trying out new spices.

  3. Gabrielle says:

    THIS LOOKS SO GOOD. I could also see turning this recipe into lamb burgers with goat cheese… /drool

  4. What a great recipe! These would be a mega hit at my next potluck. Thanks for sharing. Also, I’m having a ChicWrap giveaway today that you should enter!

  5. Megan says:

    oh. my. god. these look 2 die 4

  6. Lynna says:

    love the pictures!! it looks like you all had so much fun~ :D & the meatballs sounds so fancy & looks incredible!!

  7. liz says:

    gah! Moroccan food! love it. Do you think these would do well staying warm in a crockpot set to low or warm if you wanted to make them a bit ahead of time?

  8. Dana says:

    These look so yummy! I like the Morocco twist on an Italian classic. (As well, your bar in the background looks impressive too! :P )

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  11. Rhiannon says:

    YUM! These will be on our menu for this weekend for sure.

  12. Looks like you guys had a blast! And the meatballs look amazing!

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