Moroccan Meatball and Lentil Bake With Company!

Recipe by French Tart
READY IN: 2hrs




  • Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  • Mix the garlic, cumin, coriander and cinnamon, salt & pepper together.
  • Break up any lumps in the minced beef and add the spices, finely diced onion and the beaten egg.
  • Mix together well, using your hands.
  • Shape into balls the size of a walnut - you should get about 32 to 36 meatballs.
  • Roll them into the flour and heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan.
  • Fry them in batches - do not overcrowd the pan - fry until golden brown, are firm & keeping their shape.
  • Put the meatballs to one side.
  • Heat up the olive oil in the same frying pan as the meatballs were cooked inches.
  • Fry the garlic and onion over a low heat until translucent & golden but not brown.
  • Add the spices and then the lentils and stir them around to get a good coating of the oil.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock, cinnamon stick & the dried apricots.
  • Give them all a good stir and cook over a low heat for about 2 minutes.
  • 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).
  • Cover and cook for about 1 hr, or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Take the cover off for the last 10-15 minutes and allow the meatballs & cherry tomatoes to brown.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.
  • Whilst the meatball & lentil bake is cooking, prepare and cook the vegetable accompaniment.
  • Take a large wok and heat up the olive oil.
  • Add the fennel bulb, onions & carrots and stir well.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add the orange juice and mix well, cook without a lid for a further 5 minutes.
  • Pour into a serving dish & garnish with grated orange zest, fennel seeds and some of the green fronds from the fennel.
  • Serve alongside the meatball and lentil bake.
  • Garnish the meatball & lentil bake with some of the green fronds from the fennel bulbs.
  • Flatbreads, rice or couscous would also be good accompaniments, if needed, for this meal.