Forget about the boring Italian style meatballs in marinara sauce. Its time to take your taste buds on a journey to the Middle East with these delectable, healthy, guilt-free, turkey meatballs spiced with Ras El Hanout (Moroccan spice blend) and cooked in a heavenly golden sauce with spices, herbs, garlic, potatoes and chard. The combination of flavors is incredible, as are the bright colors of this spectacular dish.
I will admit, while this dish is easy to make, it is somewhat labor intensive. The meatballs are first pan seared, then, added to the sauce to finish cooking. I make everything in the same pot. You can use a food processor or chopper to save time with prepping, but I assure you, the result is well worth the effort!
Ras El Hanout is a North African fragrant spice blend that is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is delicious and can be used for anything! You can make it yourself or buy it here
For the meatballs
1 lbs ground lean turkey
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 tbs fresh dill, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 whole egg
1/3 cup bread crumbs* (optional. I use gluten free)
2 tsp ras el hanout
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper
For the sauce
1 large onion, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch chard (Swiss or rainbow), stems removed, roughly chopped (approx 8oz)
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
2 potatoes, peeled, then cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lemon, juiced
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cups water
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
6 sprigs fresh dill
1. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground turkey, chopped onion, parsley, coriander, dill, garlic, egg, bread crumbs and spices. Best to use your (clean) hands to mix.
2. Wet your hands and roll out the meatballs to the size of a ping pong ball. Place on a plate
3. In a large wide pan or pot, heat up the olive oil on high until very hot. Arrange the meatballs leaving some space between them (if needed do it in batches) and let them brown for 1-2 minutes. Carefully flip them using a spoon and a fork. Remove onto a plate and set aside
4. Using the same pan, reduce the heat and add the onion into the olive oil. stir well, then add the garlic, celery jalapeño and 1 tsp salt and sauté for about 2 minutes
5. Add the cumin, turmeric and cinnamon and stir.
6. Add the potatoes and water and stir well. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
7. Add the chard and cover the pan. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
8. Add the lemon juice and dill and place the meatballs in the sauce one by one. Cover and let them meatballs cook in the sauce for 15-20 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan.
Serve over rice or quinoa.