Mediterranean Spiced Meatballs in a Fragrant Sauce

The weather today is just gorgeous.  Early this morning, I went for a six mile hike with the pup.  We were trudging through mud and snow about 7:30am, then as the morning progressed, the sun continued to magnify, and it warmed up significantly.

Days like this are perfect for “transitional foods.”  This is the exciting time of year where it is still cold enough to keep making those crock-style dishes, yet is warm enough to add a little spring flare to it.  Edible flowers and “weeds” are starting to bloom, and gardens are ripe for the pickin’ of spring greens around here.

My Egyptian Walking Onions are at a nice tender age right now, and would be perfect seared in butter and smashed into some red-skinned potatoes.

This is one of my favorite meatball and sauce recipes.  I adapted it from an old cooking magazine, that I am not even sure exits anymore.  It is so fragrant and spicy, with a hint of fresh squeezed lemon and orange juices, fresh herbs, and garden vegetables; that you really get the flavor of a Mediterranean summer.  I serve it over Israeli cous cous and basmati rice which is also peppered with fresh herbs and citrus.

Mediterranean Meatballs in a Fragrant Spiced Sauce


1/2 lb.  ground pork

1/2 lb. ground chuck

1/4 C onion, grated

1 egg

1T olive oil

2T cornstarch

1/2t each kosher salt, cracked pepper, fresh ground coriander seeds, fresh ground cumin seeds

1/4t each red pepper flakes, allspice

3T olive oil for sauteing


1C diced onion

1/2C  carrot, shredded

1T tomato paste

2t smoked Spanish paprika

1t each dried thyme, fresh ground cumin, ground ginger

1/2t cinnamon

1- 14.5oz can San Marzano tomatoes

1/2C chicken stock

1C zucchini, shredded

3T fresh squeezed orange juice

1t salt

Cous cous & Basmati:

1C dry Israeli cous cous, cooked

1C  dry basmati, cooked

3T extra virgin olive oil

1T lemon juice

1T lemon zest

1t orange zest

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3C fresh chopped parsley

salt and pepper

1. Meatball: Combine all ingredients in to a ball.
Shape in to 24 meatballs
* Heat remaining 3T of olive oil in large pan over medium heat.
*Brown meatballs on all sides, remove from skillet with a slotted spoon.
2. Sauce: Using the same skillet, over medium heat, saute
the onion and carrot until soft.
*Stir in the tomato paste,paprika, thyme, cumin, ginger, and cinnamon.
* Add the tomatoes, with their juice, zucchini, the meatballs, and the chicken stock.
*Cover pan, simmer for 10 minutes.
*Stir in orange juice and salt.
3. Cous cous and basmati: Cook cous cous and basmati, separately,
according to manufacturers directions.
* Toss both grains together in a pot, add the rest of the ingredients.




Basmati Rice


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