Moroccan (Sephardic) Meatballs

August 15th, 2010 by Melina

Compliments of my wonderful friend Ruth

Actually, Ruth is more than a friend. She’s family. I’ve known her since I was about 3 and a student in her “Tot Shabbat” class at the Jewish Community Center. I still remember making itty-bitty loaves of challah to bring back to my mother.

During my junior year abroad in Jerusalem, Ruth’s family became my family. I travelled south to Beersheba and the surrounding towns a few times to spend time with her wonderfully warm relatives.

What spiced the visits up – literally – is that her family is originally Moroccan. Ten years later I still remember her mother’s fish with garbanzo beans. Wow. Even more incredible was her sister’s seder. Even with the lack of matzoh ball soup (the Sephardim don’t do that), the new melodies and traditions (like passing the seder plate over our heads) made it my favorite seder ever.

Ruth was over a few nights ago, and she brought Moroccan meatballs with her. So of course I had to get the recipe and share it with you. But you’ll have to keep in mind that this is her mother’s recipe – meaning that it’s totally instinctive – so I’ve got no amounts for us to work with here.

Note: I’m posting this in conjunction with a recipe for Israeli couscous.

According to Ruth:

Mix 1 lb of ground beef with with very finely chopped onions and garlic (and maybe a bit of potato).

Add an egg.

Add salt, pepper, cumin, nutmeg and cinnamon.

To see if the seasoning needs adjustment, Ruth, and a bunch of Food Network chefs, recommend cooking one tiny meatball just to taste.

Put the meatballs in a pot. Cover with water and / or broth.

Add tumeric and some olive oil. Boil for a while. And then simmer.

At the end, turn the leftover liquid into sauce by adding peas, mushrooms, carrots, etc.

Hope you’ll try this recipe and pass along any tips you learned along the way! I ended up with way too much liquid. I removed the meatballs and reduced it. But next time, I’ll know.

(Shown here with Israeli couscous, organic tomatoes, squash, and olive bread from the farmer’s market. Mom went this morning and got a ton of loot.)


P.S. Here’s some good music for you, to set the mood. The last two minutes, when Sarit Hadad breaks out the riq, are the best. Actually, the Egyptian version of this song is one of my ringtones.¬†Anyway, play this whilst cooking and I swear, the flavor will improve!

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Posted in Recipes

3 Responses

  1. Pamela Cayne

    Yummy-between this and your previous couscous post, I’m getting hungry!!

    You’ve certainly inherited the food porn gene from your mother. :)

  2. Melina

    Pam, it’s not just my mother. I grew up about 2 feet from the “Gourmet Ghetto.”

    So it’s all about fresh, high quality, “real” food.

    Hence my going all Alice Waters ( on you. . .

  3. » Blog Archive » Selichot

    […] There are actually several songs in this video, all having to do with forgiveness, which is the basic theme of tonight, and most are sung in the Moroccan style, which you know I adore. (Remember Ruth’s meatball recipe?) […]

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