I doooo love a tomato sauce with eggs cooked in at the last minute. I have my Moorish Eggs recipe on here, but there are lots of variations out there on this basic idea with different cultural slants – Nigella does an Italian vibin’ one in Nigelissimia, there’s a Spanish one in the first Moro cook book, also Rick Stein has a Moroccan version (with lamb meatballs) in Mediterranean Escapes I think. Sometimes it’s called Shakshouka. That’s great word, Shakshouka. I mighty call my future dog that – “come here Shakshooooouka!” – yeah, I like it! This is my version of Shakshouka, with meatballs in.
You could use lamb, that would be gorgeous, but I had some nice beef mince that needed using. The meatballs are simply spiced, not spicy, then rolled and left in fridge to ‘set’ a bit. You make the tomato sauce (simplest ever) in advance, then when you’re ready to eat, fry off balls, add sauce and chuck in eggs. For this reason (it being very make ahead-y) it would be a good ‘entertaining’ dish. You know, for those times when people just ‘pop round’. Does anyone actually have those occasions? No? Me neither. But if you ever do have anyone over, even if it’s just your parents, this might be nice to make them. You are insane, in my opinion, if you ever cook for people something that isn’t mostly make ahead when ‘entertaining’. Make ahead dishes are a total must in our house, on the increasingly rare occasions we have people over to dine…
This is do-able midweek, dependant on what else you have on of course, but it’s also got a weekend feel about it, so I’ve tagged it both Midweek Meals and Weekend Feasting (as some people will feel it’s only a go-er at the weekend).
Give it a whirl, I guarantee everyone will LOVE it.
Serves: 4 adults
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
For the meatballs:
500g beef mince (or lamb)
1/2 red (or white) onion, grated
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the sauce:
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Seasoned yoghurt (let down yoghurt with some milk and add a little salt, then sprinkle ground coriander and paprika on top and a swirl of olive oil)
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Season your mince with the spices, add the grated onion, and roll into little balls. Refrigerate for an hour or so to allow them to firm up.
- To make the sauce, add the oil to a hot pan and then the sliced garlic. As soon as it begins to sizzle (do not let it colour!) add the tinned tomatoes. Let it come to boil then simmer as low as possible for 2 hours with lid on. Stir every now and then to prevent sticking.
- When you’re ready to eat, fry off meatballs (let your pan get ever so hot first to prevent them sticking) in a little oil until brown all over, about 5 minutes, then add the sauce. Reduce heat and let the sauce cook the meatballs through, for about 5 more minutes.
- Add the eggs, cracking them right into the dish, and put the lid on (or a large plate on top of the pan) to steam them. They will only take a couple of minutes to cook.
- Serve with lots of fresh coriander and seasoned yoghurt. Oh, and bread, lots of crusty bread – this is a very dippy dish!