Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Kefta in Spicy Lemon Butter Sauce

i love fragrant food. and moroccan kefta is a favorite. on sunday it was my day to cook and clean the house. so we had moroccan food.

i made a moroccan bread called kisra at lunch time. it's a semi-sour dough with anise and sesame seed. while it was rising and then baking, i started cleaning up the cartoon-like mess i made in the house getting shit ready for the last show. then for dinner i made kefta meatballs with a rich butter herb sauce and lemon.

this recipe is adapted from paula wolfert's 1973 book, couscous and other good food from morocco. check it out. it has some great recipes that are very adaptable and easy to make 'to taste.' i replaced the lamb in the original recipe with beef and a little bit of pork (mindy doesn't like mutton meats). you can't taste the pork, but it adds enough fat to the meatballs to give the meat some flavor. i used a wok to cook in. i knew i'd be poaching the meat balls and working with a richly flavored butter sauce and the seasoned wok seemed like an ideal alternative to a skillet. also, i used kerry gold butter. i recommend using a high quality butter.  it makes the sauce that much better. it takes about 1 1/2 hours from prep to serve.


1 lb ground beef
1/4lb ground pork
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ras el hanout
2 tsp hungarian sweet paprika

3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated onion
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 pinches of saffron (broken up)
1/8 tsp (or a couple dashes) tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup water
1/2 cup pinot noir
1 lemon


making the kefta: in a large mixing bowl, knead together the beef, pork, and herbs and spices.  be sure everything is evenly dispersed.  form into 1-inch meatballs.

making the sauce and poaching the kefta:  on high heat, melt the butter and quickly brown the onions (chop or grate your onions very finely so they can caramelize quickly).  add all other herbs and spices except for the lemon.  add the water and wine and bring to a boil.  it should take all of about 3 minutes to do all of this.  then reduce the heat and cover.  simmer for about 15 minutes.  add the kefta meatballs to the sauce, re-cover and poach for 30 minutes.

i wanted a green veggie so i added fresh broccolini at the 20 minute mark and steamed it for that last 10 minutes over the top of the meatballs.  after dishing up 3 meatballs and a generous amount of sauce i added the juice of half a lemon to each of 2 bowls, but just add lemon to taste.  i served this with the moroccan bread i made earlier in the day.  the semi-sour dough, anise and sesame seed bread went perfectly with the rich butter sauce.  it's worth the 1 1/2 hours to make this.

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