Moroccan Meatball Tagine with Pears

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I’m always banging on about how much I love meatballs. This tagine sounds very exotic doesn’t it? But the use of pears was purely accidental as I had some on the kitchen bench at the time that were about to ‘turn’. The appearance of fruit in tagines is very Moroccan so I knew it would be OK. I was right, it was scrumptious.

RECIPE: Serves 3-4

INGREDIENTS:
For the meatballs:
500g minced lamb
1 small onion (grated)
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh coriander (finely chopped)
salt & pepper
1 egg
1 cup breadcrumbs

For the Sauce:
1 onion (thinly sliced)
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 3cm cinnamon stick
20 strands saffron (infused in boiling water for 10 minutes)
300ml beef stock
1 large tomato (chopped)
1 green capsicum (seeded and sliced)
2 firm pears (peeled, cored and roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley or coriander
1/2 lemon (juice of)

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all the meatball ingredients together with your hands. Mould the meat into small balls and arrange on a plate. Heat a large pan or tagine, over a medium heat. Add the oil and when hot, add the meatballs one by one and cook them for 5-6 minutes until they are nicely browned on all sides. Remove from the pan. Add a little more oil and then gently saute the onions and garlic with a little salt for 4-5 minutes until transparent and soft. Return the meatballs to the pan, turn up the heat to medium high and stir. Add the cumin and coriander powders and the cinnamon stick and stir for 30 seconds. Add the beef stock and saffron in its water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, scatter the green capsicum and chopped tomato over the top and simmer gently with the lid on for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, stir and reduce the liquid for another 10 minutes. Squeeze over some lemon juice and season with salt & pepper. Sprinkle the pears on top and simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

SERVING:
Sprinkle over the fresh parsley or coriander and serve with mashed potatoes or cous cous.

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