Sunday, October 16, 2011

Moroccan Meatballs with Peas - Random Recipe Challenge # 9

I was so disappointed to have missed last months Random Recipe Challenge, especially since the theme was magazines and cut-outs (which I have a ridiculous amount of stacked up in the wardrobe in our spare room), so I was determined to take part this month. Apparently Dom at Belleau Kitchen had the same idea as before I knew it, the theme had been announced and I had been paired up with Susan at The Spice Garden. You see this month to make sure no one was cheating we had to pick a book and then a random page number for the person you had been paired with. I have to admit I was mildly terrified....It's one thing picking your own random recipe but to have someone else do it for you – well there was no escaping your fate. Susan and I immediately got in touch and I have to say I was impressed with the number of books she had – 71 - a lovely, manageable number but plenty of choice for selection.... I chose number 24 for her. It was then my turn to let her know how many books I had.....all I can say is I think I more than shocked her! 593 was my magic number (actually I have 596 but 3 are baby food books, which I was not cooking from!). I didn't dare tell her I have roughly the same amount tucked away in storage and that this number was just the books I have immediate access to! So after emailing her with my number, I waited very nervously for a response.....please let it be something manageable and not The French Laundry or The Big Fat Duck! You see while I have no problem with a challenge (since that's exactly what this is) the day before Dom announced this months theme, my plans had somewhat changed and I had unexpectedly booked a plane ticket home for the following week! Time therefore was limited and while I did promise to myself if it was a complicated recipe I would take it back to Scotland and attempt it there, I was hoping to have it done before I left. All I can say is thank you Susan – you were more than good to me! In the end Susan picked book number 254 which turned out to be Just One Pot by Lindsay Bareham – amazing! She then picked page number 147 which was Moroccan Meatballs with Peas – even more amazing! I don't think I could have picked a better recipe if I tried! As it turned out I had all of the ingredients other than the lamb so I decided to head straight to town to pick some up – no point wasting time, we were having this for dinner that night!

The recipe sounded so good but there was no photograph of it – no problem though, I continued on following the instructions, still delighted with the choice. It was definitely an easy dish to make and not too many ingredients which is always good for a mid-week meal,however I must have made my meatballs bigger than she suggests as I got roughly 20 instead of the 30 that she says you'll get. That being said I honestly wouldn't have wanted them any smaller, especially by the time they were cooked. The overall dish was good, but I don't think I'll be in a huge rush to make it again. Don't get me wrong, the meatballs were delicious, the only criticism of the dish for us was that there were far too many peas in it. Now I know the dish is called Moroccan Meatballs with Peas so I should have known better, but next time I would do it with half the amount of peas. There also wasn't too much gravy (as she calls it) but it was delicious and simple to make. I served it with a quick and easy lemon and pine nut couscous which went really well with it and turned it into a filling main course.

So there you have it – I survived my first Random Recipes Challenge and it was not just a case of survival, it was a success! Thanks to Dom for hosting and to Susan for picking this recipe. I'm embarrassed to admit it was my first time cooking from this book, but it's now off the shelves and waiting to be used again!

Moroccan Meatballs with Peas

Serves 2

2 red onions
about 25 mint leaves
1 tbsp cooking oil or half butter and half oil
250g/8oz minced lamb
½ tsp ras al hanout
½ tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp sultanas
1 egg yolk
½ tbsp runny honey
250g/8oz frozen peas
½ chicken stock cube dissolved in 300ml/ ½ pint boiling water
squeeze lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the onions in half and thinly slice 3 halves. Heat the oil in a large frying pan then add the onions. Saute for roughly 5 minutes until they are starting to soften and colour slightly. Add the ras al hanout, sultanas, honey and 250ml of the chicken stock. Stir well then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer then cover the pan with a lid and leave to cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove the lid and cook for a further couple of minutes until the onions are soft, the sultanas plump and the liquid has reduced to make a gravy. Season generously with salt.

Grate the reserved onion and chop the mint leaves. Put the lamb, onion, half of the mint, cumin, salt, pepper and the egg yolk into a bowl. Mix well using your hands until everything is well combined. Make the meatballs by rolling the mixture between your hands. You want them to be the size of cherry tomatoes (mine were a little larger) and should get roughly 30 meatballs from the mixture.

When you are ready to cook the meatballs, add the remaining stock to the gravy and return to a boil. Add the meatballs, arranging them in between the onion slices and allow to cook for several minutes on each side until they are golden all over and cooked through. Add the peas and remaining mint and cook until the peas are just tender. Taste to check the seasoning and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.


  1. 593!!! 593!!! 593???? Where? How? Why? Can I come over to read!!!! Good lord lady! This challenge was made for you then!!! Those meatballs look incredible. What a brilliant recipe to pick. And isn't Susan lovely? So glad and happy you're on board with random recipes. Xxx

  2. Haha I know, it's my personal cookbook library! And the worst thing is thats only the amount I have direct access to!! This challenge really was made for me and I'm delighted to finally be a part of Random Recipes and to have 'met' Susan. Looking forward to future challenges : )

  3. thanks for the friendship and this is an amazing recipe as we love lamb so much at home, lovely looking.

  4. The recipe sounds perfect! Buzzed.

  5. Great concept for you to take part in, it cant be easy for you to choose which book to try next! Much better to have someone challenge you. Glad its worked so well!

  6. Yay - glad you did this one. I like the recipe. I have a tenth of the books you have available (or a twentieth of your total) and I still feel overwhelmed by how much there is there that I will never cook!!!!!!

  7. That looks really tasty, I love meatballs.

  8. Looks like a delicious dinner.

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday - and that you didn't buy any more cook books!!!!

  9. Looks and sounds yummy. And, as we love peas, I don't intend changing a thing :-) I'm even going to follow your lead and team it with a lemon based couscous !

  10. Well, aren't I shame-faced for being so late to respond to this killer dish! I agree with you ... more gravy, please! I'm okay with a lot of peas, though ... more veg equals more vitamins and minerals! God, I sound like my mother!

    Glad the one pot meal fit the busy-ness of life in your world! Brilliant pairing with the couscous with pine nuts! Yum all around!

  11. Thank you everyone for such lovely comments - I really do recommend trying this recipe!

    Brownieville Girl - thank you so much! Im still having a fantastic time being back home and I hate to say it but yes I have bought a few more books!!!

    Susan - thank you again so much for picking this delicious recipe for me! : )


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