Spicy Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

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Spicy Meatballs in Tomato SauceIf you live near a Moroccan restaurant, you should go frequently. The aroma, the decor, the feast for both the taste buds and the eyes, and the … belly dancers? Beware, you may be rustled out of your seat by one of these exquisite creatures, and invited to do unspeakable, bumbling acts in front of otherwise satisfied diners, and of course your adoring friends who shamed you into getting up in the first place! Forgive me for getting personal. Allow me to distract you with this dish that will undoubtedly be waiting at your table when you return from your brief career as a belly dancer.

  • Yield: 3 to 5 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes


  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 128 -oz can crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp hot or other paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ onion, grated or finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp hot or other paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
How to Make It
  1. When the oil begins to shimmer, add onion and salt and sauté 4-6 minutes, or until translucent. Add the jalapeño pepper and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients. Lower to a simmer, and let it cook, uncovered, while you prepare your meatballs—10-30 minutes. The longer you simmer the sauce, the better it will taste.
  2. Heat the oven to 350°F. To make the meatballs, in a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients. Form the mixture into 1½-inch balls, about 15-18 in this recipe.
  3. Transfer the sauce into a tagine or baking dish. Place meatballs into the sauce. Cover the vessel with a lid or tightly with aluminum foil, and transfer to the oven and braise for 25-30 minutes, or until the meatballs are just cooked through.
  4. Remove the saucy kefta from the oven, uncover, and sprinkle additional parsley and/or cilantro across the top. Serve immediately over couscous, atop rice, or with warm, crusty bread.

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