Meatball-Tomato-and-Egg Tagine

One of my favorite comfort dishes in Morocco is this stew of kefta (meat) balls served in a rich cinnamon-flavored tomato sauce, in which eggs are poached in the final few minutes of cooking. The meat, eggs, and sauce should be served together in a shallow pan such as a tagine, cazuela, or iron skillet.–Paula Wolfert

LC Forks At The Ready Note

Served straight from the pan, with hunks of bread? Now that’s the kind of rustic we like. One word of caution: Eating this way makes it terribly¬†difficult to judge portion sizes. You may have to eat defensively to make sure you get your fair share. Forks at the ready, folks.

Meatball-Tomato-and-Egg Tagine Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 1 H, 20 M
  • Serves 6


  • For the meatballs
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 pinches cayenne
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the sauce
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, chopped, or one 2-pound can organic chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • 6 medium eggs


  • Make the meatballs
  • 1. Combine the ground meat, grated onion, parsley, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Wet your hands and form the mixture into 1-inch balls.
  • 2. Heat the olive oil in a tagine, cazuela, or black iron skillet set over a flame tamer over medium heat. Saute the meatballs in the oil until well browned on all sides. Remove the meatballs from the pan to a dish.
  • Make the sauce and assemble the dish
  • 3. To the same pan add the chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and pepper. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a thick gravy.
  • 4. Add the meatballs back to sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Carefully, break the eggs into the sauce and poach them for 5 minutes, or until set. Serve at once, directly from the pan with chunks of dense, crusty bread.
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