Algerian meatballs with chickpeas and turmeric
This recipe is broadly based on the Algerian dish of mtewem. Serve with a chopped salad (cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, cabbage and parsley is good) and orange wedges.
— 400g minced beef or lamb
— 1 large egg
— 6 garlic cloves, peeled
and finely chopped
— 2 tsp ground cumin
— 3 tbsp olive oil
— 1 onion, peeled and
— 2 tsp sweet paprika
— 1 tsp ground turmeric
— 1 tsp tomato purée
— 1 x 400g can chickpeas,
drained and rinsed
— small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
— handful of flaked almonds,
In a bowl, mix together the mince, egg, half the garlic, half the cumin, half a teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper. Shape the mixture into approximately 20 meatballs the size of ping-pong balls.
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a moderate to high heat. Add the meatballs and fry for five minutes, until browned all over. It’s best to do this in batches, reserving each on a plate as you cook the next.
Reduce the heat and cook the onion in the same pan for 8-10 minutes, until softened.
Add the remaining garlic and cumin, along with the paprika and turmeric, and cook for a minute more. Then add the tomato purée and chickpeas and return the meatballs to the pan.
Pour in enough water to just cover the meatballs, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes, so the meat is cooked and tender.
If the meatballs are ready, but the sauce is thin, remove them from the pan and set aside. Continue reducing the sauce until it has thickened and is rich-tasting. Season well, then reintroduce the meatballs. Add the parsley and toasted almonds, then serve.