Moroccan Kefta Tagine with Poached Eggs

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A quick and simple recipe for Moroccan tagine of kefta with poached eggs.

Moroccan cuisine is well-known for its tagines- both the iconic clay pot with its conical lid and the many recipes made inside the vessel. There are hundreds of recipes for tagines using all kinds of meats, fresh vegetables, and copious amounts of spices to flavor the rich stews. The dome or cone-shaped lid of the tagine allows steam to rise up and fall back into the dish creating wonderful sauces and buttery meats perfect for sopping up with bread.

Kefta tagine is a relatively popular dish in Morocco both in homes and in restaurants. Kefta (ground beef) formed into small seasoned meatballs is cooked in a spicy sauce and topped with eggs poached right on top of the dish. It is a really simple recipe that doesn’t actually need a tagine to make, even though it is a tagine dish. It's easy to prepare so it's a perfect recipe for a first attempt at tagine. Spice levels can be adjusted according to personal taste as well.

Here are two different versions of the recipe.

Kefta Tagine with Poached Eggs

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

6 tomatoes

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 small chili pepper or ½ teaspoon harissa (optional)

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoon hot paprika

Pinch of saffron

Small handful fresh parsley

Small handful fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

4 eggs (optional)

Grate tomatoes in a medium-sized skillet or tagine. Chop onion, pepper, garlic, and chili* (if using) finely and add to pan. If using harissa instead of chili add it to the pan as well. Chop parsley and add it with dry spices and a little bit of salt and pepper to the sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, covering with a lid.

Roll ground beef into small balls (about 1 inch round). Add meatballs to the sauce once it’s reduced a bit and return lid to pan. After about 7-10 minutes, turn the meatballs around in the sauce to coat on both sides and cook evenly, about 5 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust according to preferred taste since it won't be possible to do so once the eggs are added.

If using eggs, crack them over meatballs and sauce and poach until firm. Covering the dish help the eggs to cook thoroughly. Garnish with a little cumin, salt and pepper if desired. This dish is usually served and eaten directly from the tagine or pan.

*If using a chili pepper, remove seeds and membrane to reduce heat level. Sometimes removing seeds and membrane from half of the pepper will give a medium heat.

Kefta Tagine

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion

2 clove garlic

3 tablespoons fresh parsley

1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons cumin

For the Sauce:

6 tomatoes

1 onion

2 clove of garlic

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon hot paprika

3 tablespoons fresh parsley

Chop onion and garlic for meatballs very finely. Add to ground beef along with the rest of the spices and mix well. If you have time, put seasoned meat in refrigerator for an hour or two before cooking.

For the sauce, grate the tomatoes, onion and garlic into a frying pan, skillet or tagine. Add parsley and dry spices and mix well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer and cover with lid for about 15 minutes

Roll ground beef into small meatballs (about 1 inch round). Add meatballs to pan once sauce has reduced a little bit. After about 7-10 minutes, turn the meatballs around in the sauce so they coat in the sauce on both sides and cook evenly, about 5 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust according to preferred taste.

This dish is usually served and eaten directly from the tagine or pan.

Notes: Lamb, chicken, or turkey can replace the beef in either of these recipe.

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