Lamb Kefta Tagine (meatball stew)
Cooking time: approx. 45mins
Food in North Africa
The large dome-shape of the tagine is designed to return condensed liquid to the base. This means a minimal amount of water is needed to cook. The region of North Africa (including the Middle East) is the most water-scarce region in the world. 6.3% of the world’s population live there, but they have access to only 1.4% of the world’s renewable fresh water. This has definitively shaped North African culture, and water scarcity is likely to worsen due to population growth and the effects of climate change.
For the kefta:
225g minced lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried mint
1-2 teaspoons ras-el-hanout spice mix
A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
For the tagine:
1 tablespoon butter
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chilli flakes
1-2 teaspoons cumin seeds, dry roasted and ground
A small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
You will also need a tagine. If you don’t have one, you can use a casserole dish with a lid.
1. To make the kefta, mix together all the kefta ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Using your hands, knead the mixture and mould it into small meatballs. You should end up with 12 balls.
2. Fill a large tagine or casserole dish with water and bring it to the boil. Carefully drop in the kefta, a few at a time, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep 200ml of the cooking water to use next.
3. Add the butter to the 200ml of cooking water in the tagine and boil. Stir in the salt and cayenne/chilli flakes. Drop the kefta back in. Cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Crack the eggs around the kefta and cover the pot with a lid. Cook the eggs until the whites are set. Sprinkle with roasted cumin and chopped parsley and serve.