December 20, 2021 by Pierre Thiam
Senegal and Morocco have a long history of trading recipes. Rumor has it that Morocco’s national dish of couscous was inspired by our own millet couscous (I heard it from the great Paula Wolfert herself, who is considered the authority on the food of Morocco).
Thus armed with this knowledge, I give you Moroccan kefta-inspired lamb meatballs. Spicy and filling, I stuffed mine with goat cheese from Keur Moussa Monastery. They are the perfect snack for grilling, and are great for parties. The mint-yogurt sauce for dipping was inspired by the Lebanese community that’s been living in Senegal for several years now.
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons fine sea salt
- 1 cup fresh goat cheese
- Mint-Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup plain full-fat Greek-style yogurt
- 1 cup fresh chopped mint
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 01 .
Combine the lamb, parsley, cilantro, mint, onion, cumin, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, eggs and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- 02 .
Using your hands, make a round meatball the size of a golf ball, then slightly flatten it into a disk. Put a pinch of goat cheese in the center and carefully wrap the meat around it, gently reshaping it into a ball. Repeat until all the meatballs are filled with goat cheese. Refrigerate again for an hour to firm up until you’re ready to cook.
- 03 .
Combine the yogurt, mint, garlic, lemon juice, and oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 04 .
Preheat the grill or broiler to hot. Grill the meatballs or place them on a baking sheet to broil. You may also pan-fry them in a few tablespoons of oil. Cook, turning a few times, until all sides are browned, about 7 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately with the yogurt sauce for dipping.