Kefta (meatballs) with eggs and pickled shallots
- January 2019
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 35 min, oven time 35-37 min, simmering time 10 min
Georgina Hayden‘s kefta (meatballs) with eggs and pickled shallots is spiked with cumin, cinnamon and smoked paprika. It’s a really punchy dish that could be served as part of a big brunch spread or for dinner with couscous.
- 34.8g (11.6g saturated)
- 17g (15.2g sugars)
- Olive oil for frying
- 3 onions
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
- ½ bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
- 2½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 500g British beef mince or British lamb mince
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 12 large stone-in Greek olives (I used halkidiki)
- 4 shallots
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 large free-range eggs
- Warm pitta breads or couscous to serve
- Put a deep ovenproof sauté pan on a low-medium heat, then add 2 tbsp olive oil. Finely chop 2 of the onions, add to the pan with the garlic and cook for 10 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the coriander stalks and parsley stalks to the pan. Stir in 1½ tsp each of the paprika and cumin, fry for a minute, then add the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil, season well with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3½.
- Meanwhile make the meatballs. Grate the remaining onion into a bowl. Add the mince, cinnamon and the remaining paprika and cumin, then season well. Chop the parsley leaves and half the coriander leaves, then add to the bowl. Mix everything together well, scrunching it with your hands. Roll the mixture into heaped teaspoon-size balls (see Make Ahead).
- Remove and discard the stones from the olives, then tear in half. When the tomato sauce is ready, put in a tagine (if you have one) or continue to cook in the pan. Put the meatballs in the sauce, scatter over the olives, cover with the lid, then bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile quick-pickle the shallots. Peel and finely slice, then toss in a bowl with a good pinch of salt and the wine vinegar. Set aside.
- When ready, remove the lid from the pan or tagine. Make 4 wells in the sauce with the back of a spoon, pushing the meatballs to one side, then crack an egg into each well. Cover with the lid and return to the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through. Scatter over the remaining fresh coriander to serve, with the shallots on the side and some warm pitta breads or fluffy couscous.
Prepare to the end of step 2 up to 1 day ahead. Cool the sauce completely, then keep the sauce and meatballs covered in separate containers in the fridge. Complete the recipe to serve.
With those spices a ripe and softly peppery southern French syrah or côtes du rhône would be spot on.
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