Kefta Mkaouara is a Moroccan dish made up of tiny meatballs, simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce and crowned with poached eggs.
There is something about making meatballs. Big ones, normal ones, small ones. I don’t know what it is, but mashing all the ingredients together, shaping, and cooking them is just so rewarding.
This Moroccan Meatball Tagine is such a fun way to eat meatballs. Here in the States we may be familiar with meatballs in tomato sauce to top our pasta, but this is a whole new side of meatballs and tomatoes that you have never seen before!
Kefta Mkaouara: Moroccan Meatballs
These meatballs do not use eggs or breadcrumbs as a binder, meaning that they are simply robust, meaty chunks in our aromatic, stewed tomatoes.
This dish is incredibly flavorful and savory. Some like it spicy, others prefer to go lighter on the heat. Feel free to adjust the cayenne pepper to your spice preference. We found that 1/8 tsp gives just a hint of spice that doesn’t linger.
Don’t forget to serve this dish with a warm flatbread to scoop up all the tomato goodness!
What is a Tagine?
This dish falls under the realm of Moroccan cooking that is typically done in a tagine. A tagine is a cooking vessel used in North African cooking that is made up of a wide base and a cone-shaped top. Tagines are traditionally used for long, slow cooking over hot coals, but the stove top or oven work well too. The shape of the vessel condenses the steam on the inside of the lid, causing it to run back into the ingredients, keeping everything incredibly moist.
If you love North African and Moroccan cooking, a tagine makes a fun addition to your collection of cookware, but if you don’t have a tagine, don’t worry, because you can still enjoy this tasty dish. We have yet to purchase a tagine, so all of our tagine-style cooking is done in our cast iron skillet or cast iron Dutch oven. We do prefer to use cast iron for these dishes, but whatever you choose, just make sure it has a tight-fitting lid.
Meatballs get a Moroccan twist in this unique dish. Kefta Mkaouara is a Moroccan dish made up of tiny meatballs, simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce and crowned with poached eggs.
Yield: 1 (10 inch) skillet (For best results, use a skillet with a lid.)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 lbs tomatoes, diced (or 2 -14 oz cans of sodium free diced tomatoes, drained)
- 1½ tsp paprika
- 1½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
- 3 Tb fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 Tbsp dry)
- 1 lb ground beef, 90% lean
- 1 onion, small, minced
- 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 Tbsp dry)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
- 4 eggs
- Heat the oil in a large skillet with a lid (preferably cast iron) (or a tagine with a heat diffuser*) over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the meatballs. (Taste the sauce and adjust salt to your taste preference, if necessary.)
- Mix all the Kefta ingredients in a large bowl, mixing with your hands until just combined. Scoop about 1 Tbsp of meat mixture and shape it into a small, 1 inch, ball. Continue until all the meat has been shaped.
- Nestle meatballs in the sauce.** Cover the pan and cook for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove lid and, with large spoon, make 4 deep wells in sauce amidst the meatballs. Crack an egg into each well. Return the lid and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until egg whites are set.
- Serve the dish immediately with flatbread or rice.
*If using a tagine: Either sauté the onions and garlic in a separate pan first, before adding them to the tagine, or omit this step. (But still add the oil with the onions to the tagine.)
**Depending on the size of your pan, you may have extra meatballs. They can be skillet fried, baked for 25 minutes at 350F, or frozen for later use.
Do you love meatballs? Check out the collection of cultural and culturally-inpsired meatballs below from some of our favorite bloggers!
- Cheesy Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza Meatballs from The Weekend Gourmet
- Crab Cake Mini Meatballs with Tartar Sauce from The Texan New Yorker
- Grilled Korean Meatballs from Palatable Pastime
- Saucy Thai Meatballs from Brunch-n-Bites
- Russian Meatball Soup from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Main Dish Meatballs:
- Cheesy Italian Meatball Sandwich from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Fightin’ Irish Balls from Monica’s Table
- General Tso’s Chicken Meatballs from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Grandma’s Italian Meatball Subs from Family Around The Table
- Hamballs from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Kefta Mkaouara (Moroccan Meatballs Tagine) from Curious Cuisiniere
- Keftedakia (Greek-style Meatballs) from Tramplingrose
- Kofte-Style Lamb Meatballs in a Tomato-Pepper Sauce from Caroline’s Cooking
- Meatball Subs from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Moroccan Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce from MyGourmetConnection
- Orecchiette and Meatball Skillet Dinner from Momma’s Meals
- Persian Lamb Meatballs from Food Lust People Love
- Portuguese Meatballs in Garlicky Wine Sauce from Family Foodie
- Slow Cooker Spanish Meatballs from The Chef Next Door
- Sun Dried Tomato & Bulgarian Feta Chicken Meatballs over Lemon-Spinach Orzo From Simply Healthy Family
- Swedish Meatballs (Frikadeller) from Feeding Big
- Swedish Meatballs with Zucchini Ribbons from Angels Home Sweet Homestead
- Sweet & Sour Freezer to Slow-Cooker Meatballs from Wholistic Woman
- Tajine-el-Khoukh (Algerian Stuffed Peaches) from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Thai Meatball Lettuce Wraps from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Thai Spaghetti and Meatballs from Kitchen Gidget
- Thai Red Curry Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce from kimchi MOM