Meatball Tagine with Chickpeas is the comfort food you need today.
This past weekend was joy interrupted by hate. I was in New Orleans, one of my favorite cities in the world (and not just because you can drink in the streets, the people, food and culture and just the best), to celebrate one of my favorite people in the world’s bachelorette party. The theme (you know we had a theme) was the movie “A League of Their Own” (if you haven’t seen it, stop what you are doing and fix that immediately!) Based on the epic reaction on Bourbon Street, it’s everyone’s favorite movie of all time. I’ll share some pics from the weekend soon, but it was pure warm and fuzzies.
At some point in between karaoke, bead catching and the Red Dress Run (a two-mile charity race where everyone dons a red dress of their choice), we learned about the acts of hate in Charlottesville. Amongst all the love we were feeling in NoLa, the violence shook us. We are donating 5% of proceeds over on ModernTribe to the ADL this week. It’s a start, but we can’t let hate win.
This seemed like a good week to share some comfort food, like the Meatball Tagine I made from Monday Morning Cooking Club’s latest cookbook, It’s Always About the Food. (Because isn’t it always about the food??)
The club is six Jewish Sydney, Australia-based women who have been cooking together on Monday mornings for over a decade. They have three non-for-profit cookbooks, with a goal of preserving the recipes of the past for future generations. Through cooking, they became a sisterhood. Don’t you love that? I even got to meet member Lisa when she was in Austin earlier this year!
This third book the group went on a global search for Jewish recipes and, equally as important, stories. Bialys by Marcia Friedman, Corn Torte from Pati Jinich, Carrot Soup with Harissa and Coconut from Ronnie Rein even an Israeli Farro salad from me!
This Meatball Tagine with Chickpeas is by Yossi Bendayan, a chef living in Israel.
The chickpea liquid makes a flavorful, thick broth, with tons of cilantro (aka coriander), earthy cumin, and the right amount of heat.
I had tons of leftovers and added some toasted almonds to a later bowl. I highly recommend it!
The meatballs would also be great baked on their own, with pasta or in a sandwich. Flavor meets texture meets I ate about a dozen of them out of the pot.
- 200 g (1 cup) dried chickpeas
- 2 red peppers, quartered, seeds removed
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 1½ tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 1 bunches cilantro, leaves only
- For Meatballs:
- 2 slices white bread, crusts removed (I used rye, because I had it and love it)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, leaves only
- 500 g (1 pound 2 oz) ground beef
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- Sea salt and ground pepper
- Start this recipe a day before serving.
- Soak the chickpeas in a bowl of cold water overnight. The next day, drain the chickpeas, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
- In a large saucepan, place the chickpeas and cover generously with water.
- Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour or until the chickpeas are soft. Drain and reserve the cooking water.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking tray with foil.
- Place the peppers on the lined tray, season and drizzle with olive oil, then roast for 30 minutes. Cool, then slice into strips and set aside.
- To make the meatballs, soak the bread in water for a few minutes. Drain and squeeze the bread and place in a food processor with the onion, garlic and ground beef, olive oil, cumin, and paprika. Season generously. With wet hands, shape into walnut-size balls. Set aside. Makes about 35 meatballs.
- You will need a deep, heavy-based frying pan with a lid. Heat the olive oil in the frying pan over low-medium heat and saute the garlic, cumin, paprika, until the spices are fragrant. Add the chickpeas with 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid, stirring well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and place the meatballs on top. The liquid should half-cover the meatballs; if not, add more. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Reserving a handful for garnish, chop the cilantro leaves. Add to the frying pan with the roasted peppers and simmer vigorously over medium-high heat for 20 minutes, stirring gently from time to time, until the sauce reduces and thickens. Season to taste.
- Sprinkle with reserved cilantro leaves, then serve.