Moroccan Meatballs with Couscous and Yogurt Sauce

How about something a little savory? These meatballs are, after all, baked in the oven.

Most days I struggle to provide a healthy, interesting, delicious dinner to my family. In the savory world, I'm more of an assembler than a cook. But, I do want my husband and daughter (not to mention, myself!) to eat well. Last fall, I bought a beautiful book called Family Table by Michael Romano & Karen Stabiner from a mostly-children's bookshop in Richmond, VA called bbgb that happens to be right down Kensington Ave. from our old house in The Fan. I bought the book because it looked warm and fuzzy and contains recipes from chefs who work in Danny Meyer's restaurants such as the famous and delicious seasonal frontrunner Gramercy Tavern and the equally reliable Union Square Cafe. If you are ever in New York, please try these eateries. You will not be disappointed.

Back to the book. The recipes are all chef favorites originated for the pre-dinner rush "family meal" that a good restaurant staff takes together and are sourced from grandmothers, culinary schools, travel, and anything else that influences a chef in his or her craft. The recipe I made (on page 204, if you're in a rush) was supposed to contain lamb, but my normally-trusty Whole Foods was out of ground lamb the day I needed it, so, I opted for ground beef instead and added raisins (my mom always did this and it complements the meat nicely). It was still delicious. Especially the yogurt sauce which could go well over any protein or grilled vegetable(s). In all, the meal took about 40 minutes from counter top to table, making me a very happy assembler.

(Lamb) Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce (adapted from Family Table)
1 T pine nuts, toasted and chopped
1 lb. ground lamb shoulder (as mentioned above, any ground meat can be substituted. I used organic 80/20 beef)
1/2 C raisins
1 T ras el hanout
1 T sea salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Yogurt Sauce
2 C Greek yogurt
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C fresh Italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Oh So Simple Couscous
2 C vegetable stock, boiling
1 C whole wheat couscous
1/2 C golden raisins (optional)
1/2 C chopped, toasted almonds (optional)

Serves 4.

Preheat the oven to 425.

Make the meatballs. Place the meat into a bowl and sprinkle all ingredients over top. Mix together with your hands or fold it all in with a spoon, just until assembled. Form into 2" balls and place on a baking sheet or into a baking pan. This should make about 8-10 meatballs. Bake for 15 minutes, until nicely browned and let sit an additional 5 minutes to finish cooking on the counter.

While the meatballs are baking, boil the broth and stir the couscous into it. Remove from heat, cover and let sit 10 minutes. Stir the nuts and raisins in and replace the cover until you're ready to serve.

Make the yogurt sauce. Put the yogurt into a bowl and add about 1/2 t salt and pepper, to taste. Gently stir in the olive oil and add up to 1/2 C water until the mixture reaches your preferred consistency. I used about 1/4 C water because I like a thicker sauce. Stir in the parsley.

Spoon some couscous onto a plate and top with meatballs. Add a little yogurt sauce on top and you're ready to eat. 
Thanks, Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner for a delicious and easy dinner!




  1. this looks FLAT OUT amazing. making asap!!!!!

  2. You will love these, Melissa. And, I'm keeping this recipe close by for those nights I don't know what to make.


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