Moroccan Meatball and Lentil Bake With Company!

Total Time
2hrs
Prep
1 hr
Cook
1 hr

A lightly spiced & fruity North African inspired dish with a tasty vegetable accompaniment or company as the title says! Made with easily available ingredients & it is also very adaptable. This recipe is a complete meal, but you could if you wish, serve it alongside steamed rice or couscous. Flatbreads would also be ideal, especially for mopping up all the lentils & spicy juices.

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Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  2. MEATBALLS:.
  3. Mix the garlic, cumin, coriander and cinnamon, salt & pepper together.
  4. Break up any lumps in the minced beef and add the spices, finely diced onion and the beaten egg.
  5. Mix together well, using your hands.
  6. Shape into balls the size of a walnut - you should get about 32 to 36 meatballs.
  7. Roll them into the flour and heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan.
  8. Fry them in batches - do not overcrowd the pan - fry until golden brown, are firm & keeping their shape.
  9. Put the meatballs to one side.
  10. LENTILS:.
  11. Heat up the olive oil in the same frying pan as the meatballs were cooked inches.
  12. Fry the garlic and onion over a low heat until translucent & golden but not brown.
  13. Add the spices and then the lentils and stir them around to get a good coating of the oil.
  14. Add the tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock, cinnamon stick & the dried apricots.
  15. Give them all a good stir and cook over a low heat for about 2 minutes.
  16. Pour the lentils into a large ovenproof dish and place the meatballs on top. Scatter the cherry tomatoes around the meatballs.(They look good if kept on the vine).
  17. Cover and cook for about 1 hr, or until the sauce has thickened.
  18. Take the cover off for the last 10-15 minutes and allow the meatballs & cherry tomatoes to brown.
  19. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.
  20. Whilst the meatball & lentil bake is cooking, prepare and cook the vegetable accompaniment.
  21. Take a large wok and heat up the olive oil.
  22. Add the fennel bulb, onions & carrots and stir well.
  23. Add the brown sugar, stir well & turn up the heat. Cook the vegetables until they are tinged brown on the edges and the sugar has completely dissolved.
  24. Turn the heat down and add the vegetable stock, cover the wok and cook for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but still holding their shape.
  25. Add the orange juice and mix well, cook without a lid for a further 5 minutes.
  26. Pour into a serving dish & garnish with grated orange zest, fennel seeds and some of the green fronds from the fennel.
  27. Serve alongside the meatball and lentil bake.
  28. Garnish the meatball & lentil bake with some of the green fronds from the fennel bulbs.
  29. Flatbreads, rice or couscous would also be good accompaniments, if needed, for this meal.