Kefta Tagine with Herbs, Spices and Lemon
by: Paula Wolfert Serves 4-5
For the kefta:
- 1 pound ground lamb or beef
- 3 tablespoons crème fraiche or plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
For the sauce
- 1 medium red onion, grated
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup saffron water (dissolve 1/8 teaspoon of ground saffron threads in hot water)
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 pinches cayenne
- pinch of ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
To make the kefta:
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until pasty. Form into 24 olive sized balls. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the sauce:
- Set an 11-12 inch tagine (or a dutch oven) on a heat diffuser over medium-low heat. Add the grated onion, butter, saffron water, spices, salt, 3/4 cup of the cilantro, and 1/2 cup of hot water. Slowly raise the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer gently to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes.
- Add the kefta to the sauce and poach, covered for 30 minutes, turning them midway through.
- Add the lemon juice and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer the hot tagine to a wooden surface or a folded towel on a serving plate to prevent cracking. Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and serve directly from the tagine pot, with warm slices of toasted bread for mopping up the sauce.