Lamb Meatball and Fava Bean Tagine / Morocco Recipe

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This is truly a hand-crafted meal - it takes time. I know that only the most devoted will make this. But it is nothing short of spectacular and was my favorite Spring dish. I'd eat it weekly. This is how I recall Mina made for me when I lived in Marrakech.

I'm sharing it just because it is a personal favorite and, for guests, a show-stopper. As in many cuisines, the Moroccan kitchen has many helpers. This is a labor of love for me, and for a staffed kitchen, it is a snap. I strongly recommend using fresh fava beans. You may use then skin on or skin off, as I have here. Skin on is great fiber, the skin is thick and chewy, loaded with flavor. Blanched and peeled makes a professional and colorful presentation and the bean will be as sweet and tender as fresh English peas. I like it both ways. You may also try the dish with dried favas, soaked overnight with a change of water. 5 pounds of fresh favas will get you a bit more than 1 pound of beans, and could cost you around $12-15.00 fo the lot. 1 pound of dried favas wil cost you about $1.50. You decide - restaurant and guests, or family...

I wish the photos were scratch & sniff. The beauty of the Moroccan kitchen is in the layering and segregation of herbs and spices within one dish. This dish is a good example: the meatballs have their seasoning and those flavors are seared and sealed into the meatball. The vegetable part of the dish has it's own spices and herbs. When combined, the dish is transported to a new gustatory destination.

I've not found this exact recipe in any Moroccan cookbook, but you will come no closer to a true Moroccan culinary experience than you'll find in my friend, Paula Wolfert's, "Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco" (1972). For me, Paula is the Queen of Maghrebi Cuisine - the Julia Child of the Maghreb - but much cuter!

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 6
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Ingredients

Cost per serving $1.42 view details
  • THE MEATBALLS (Kefta)
  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1/3 c flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbs cilantro (fresh coriander) chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs +1 tsp sweet paprika (combined)
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, grated
  • 1/4 rich olive oil
  • THE FAVA TAGINE
  • 1 lb shelled favas
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 pinch of saffron, pulverized
  • 1/4 tsp ground tumeric
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 c grated Spanish onion
  • 2 Tbs fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • 2-4 small dried hot peppers, whole
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 preserved lemon, fresh discarded, rinsed & diced
  • 1/2 c Kalamata, Gaeta or Royal Victoria olives, rinsed
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, sliced, for garnish
  • 1/3 c water

Directions

  1. THE FAVAS (using fresh)
  2. Shell the favas, discard the shells
  3. Prepare a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes
  4. Bring lightly salted water to a boil
  5. Boil the fava for 3 minutes
  6. Drain the water from the favas and immerse the favas in the ice water
  7. If you want to remove the skins from the beans, simply prick the skin, making a small incsion with a sharp paring knife and squeeze the bean out of the skin
  8. THE MEATBALLS
  9. Break up the ground lamb
  10. Add the grated onion, parsley, cilantro, cumin, paprika and mix it well with your hands to thoroughly incorporate all the ingredients well.
  11. Put the ball of meat into a small bowl, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour
  12. Use a teaspoon to make the meatballs - they should be 1-1/12", large marble sized, and put them on a platter
  13. Heat the oil in a large saute to shimmering
  14. Add the meat balls to the hot oil and brown on all sides
  15. Remove to the platter
  16. THE TAGINE
  17. Grate the onion
  18. Measure the dry spices into a small dish
  19. Chop the cilantro
  20. Crush the garlic
  21. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice into a small dish
  22. Add the oil to your cooking pan - if you do not own a tagine, use a heavy bottom pan to slow cook this dish over med-low/low heat for a couple of hours
  23. Add the onions, cilantro, garlic, dried hot peppers and spices to the oil as it heats
  24. Add the meatballs and favas and mix the ingredients to coat
  25. add the lemon jiuce and water
  26. Clean and rinse the preserved lemon, dicing 3/4 and add to the tagine
  27. Cover, bring to a simmer and then reduce, covered and let it slow cook 1-1/2-2 hours
  28. Add the olives about 10 minute before serving
  29. Cut the remaining segment of preserved lemon into stips for garnish

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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 313g
Recipe makes 6 servings
Calories 622  
Calories from Fat 416 67%
Total Fat 46.4g 58%
Saturated Fat 17.18g 69%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 119mg 40%
Sodium 121mg 5%
Potassium 781mg 22%
Total Carbs 20.03g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2.3g 8%
Sugars 1.86g 1%
Protein 35.15g 56%
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Reviews

  • Arturo Féliz-Camilo
    Love faba beans!
    • Daniel Saraga
      Looks pretty awesome! There are some awesome canned mini fava beans with chickpeas that I'd like to try with those meatballs.
      1 reply
      • Amos Miller
        December 17, 2014
        Took me a million years to reply, but, yeas, the fava/chickpea combo is a perfect go-to for this dish.
      • Salad Foodie
        I served this for company tonight and as you promised, it was spectacular. The hunt for the fava beans delayed my preparing it sooner. Certainly no fresh ones were to be found, and dried when at last I located them were way pricey - about $7 for a 20 ounce bag. I prepared fava beans and lima beans for the guests to try out and, they preferred the limas - perhaps if I'd had fresh ones it would have been a different story. No preserved lemon to be found so I subbed tiny julienne strips of lemon rind. What I liked so much about this dish were the tiny lamb meatballs, incredible sauce, and the Kalamata olives pushed it over the top. I could see myself increasing, even doubling the tagine sauce next time I prepare it. I didn't consider the recipe too labor intensive as you warned, but the recipe could be broken into 2 stages - making meatball mixture the first day and cooking the tagine with them the next. Thanks for your time sharing your treasured recipe!
        I've cooked/tasted this recipe!

        Comments

        • Amos Miller
          September 23, 2011
          Salad Foodie - Outstanding! You improvised beautifully on this dish! You MUST make a few Moroccan Preserved lemons (last page of my postings here). I assure you that you will be thrilled with the flavor profile it brings to your tagines and salads. Very easy - you can get by very easily with just 6 lemons - prepare 2 and juice 4. The meatball part of this tagine makes wonderful kabobs - just shape around a skewer and grill. I am most appreciative of your comments and hope you'll try a couple other of my dishes. Thanks, so much! - Amos
          • Amos Miller
            June 18, 2011
            It is some work for one person, but with a helper or two, it is a breeze. And well worth the effort!
            • Claudia lamascolo
              June 18, 2011
              sounds delicious!

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