As I presented dinner to our guests a few weeks ago, I noticed my husband giving me a subtle evil eye from across the table.


But he couldn’t say a word.  And I was relishing it.  You see, my husband is a wonderful guy, but he has a few minor flaws.  One of them being a strong aversion to my culinary best buddy, the chickpea.  Normally, I boil up a batch of the tasty legumes and add them to my dinners throughout the week, but this dish just wouldn’t have been the same without them.  I mean, you can’t make a tagine without chickpeas, right?  It has to be an unwritten law or something.


So when we had company over for my birthday dinner a few weeks ago, I took advantage of the situation.  No way I wasn’t going to be eating what I wanted on my birthday.  And there was no way my husband was going to tell me not to make chickpeas on my birthday.  Cue the maniacal laughter.

Plus, I got to use my tagine for the first time!  We got it as a wedding present, (a year ago…oops) and, well, I definitely needed to put it to use.  So I threw together a tagine worthy of a birthday.


I’m not a fan of apricots in savory dishes (and they seem to be in so very many tagine recipes), so I went with a combination of seasoned meatballs, chickpeas and potatoes flavored by smoked paprika and a touch of saffron.


Our guests loved it, and guess who got to eat all the chickpeas out of the leftovers….oh yeah, this girl.

One Year Ago: Chili Cornbread Pasta Bake

Meatball & Chickpea Tagine

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes 6-8 servings


  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 85/15)
  • 1 Tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • one 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock, warmed
  • ¼ tsp saffron
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • one 14 oz can chickpeas, drained


  1. First, make the meatballs. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, crushed garlic, grated onion, egg, breadcrumbs, spices and oil. Stir together with a wooden spoon or your hands until thoroughly mixed. Roll the mixture into balls of desired size and place on the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 mins, then remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  2. Next, bring a quart of water to boil in a medium saucepan and add the potatoes. Boil for 8-10 mins, or until the chunks can be pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Combine the warmed chicken stock and saffron and stir gently to dissolve; set aside. In a Dutch oven or tagine, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 mins. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, spices, and chickpeas. Simmer for 10 mins covered, then another 10 mins uncovered, then add in the meatballs and potatoes. Cook for another 5-10 mins, then remove from heat, top with chopped scallions or cilantro and serve with naan or over rice, or both.

Adapted from Potato Chips are not Dinner


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