Meatball Shakshuka

Story by Natalie
Meatball Shakshuka
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I’m taking a momentary break today from all of our Holiday food prep talk to cover a very important topic: meatballs. You heard me right.

I have this dream that someday, when my kids are grown and have (hopefully) moved out of the house, they will think of home and some recipe from their childhood will flood their senses in full HD (causing them to promptly pick up the phone to call their mother). So, I’m on a quest to find that one signature dish that my kids will remember forever. A therapist would probably say this is playing at some deep seeded manipulation tactic, but for now I’m rolling with it. I haven’t quite nailed it with Ramona or Scout, but for Wallace (my middle child) it’s all about the meatballs. And who can blame him?


...tomato sauce simmered with peppers, onions, and rich spices...

Meatball Shakshuka

Wallace repeatedly requests my classic meatballs in red sauce (my personal favorite as well), but when I went out a limb recently to create this more grownup and adventurous version of his favorite food, it turns out he’s not particular. As long as the meat is quality, generously seasoned, formed into round little balls and stewed in savory sauce, he will enthusiastically gobble it up and ask for more.

I came up with this particular meatball recipe while I was eating shakshuka during a blogger’s retreat. If you’ve never had shakshuka don’t read any further. Stop what you’re doing, google it, and then make it right now.

Are you back? Okay, now that you know how delicious shakshuka is you can continue reading.

Meatball Shakshuka

So here I was eating this incredible dish and after quickly consuming the beautiful eggs on top I was left with a dish full of delicious sauce, which is fine by me because it truly is the best. This tomato sauce simmered with peppers, onions, and rich spices is perfect for some good ol’ bread sloping. But it got me thinking, what else could I cook in this amazing stuff besides eggs? Enter these meatballs.

Meatball Shakshuka

That’s right...shakshuka meatballs. The meat is mixed together with the same herbs and flavors used in the sauce and then simmered in the sauce itself until cooked through. The best part about this recipe, other than the fact that you use bread to eat it, is that it all comes together in one pot in less than an hour making it the ultimate weeknight dinner. If you are anything like Wallace and I and meatballs are your thing then I can guarantee you these will be your new obsession and you’ll love them just as much as the beloved classic version.

Meatball Shakshuka

Meatball Shakshuka

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
2 red bell peppers (or 1 red and 1 anaheim)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 28 oz can whole stewed tomatoes

meatballs

1 lb ground beef (80/20)
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs

Method

  1. In a large lidded saucepan heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add in peppers and onions, stirring often until onions are almost caramelized. About 10 minutes. Add in cumin, smoked paprika and salt and stir until fragrant.
  2. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes one at a time and add to the pepper and onion mixture followed by the remaining liquid from the pan. Bring mixture to a simmer and allow to cook until thickening begins. (about 15 minutes) Adjust seasoning as needed.
  3. While the sauce is thickening whisk the garlic for the meatballs into the eggs until well beaten. Combine the egg mixture into the ground beef along with the remaining meatball ingredients and stir using your hands being careful not to over mix.
  4. Using your hands shape meatballs roughly the size of golfballs.
  5. Carefully arrange meatballs into the sauce and bring back to a simmer. Cover pan and continue cooking on low heat for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Top meatballs with fresh feta and cilantro. Serve with toasted bread or pita bread.