Today’s recipe is better prepared in a large saucepan than in a tajine, so the special cooking vessel is not necessary here.
We start by preparing the kefta. For this we need minced meat, either lamb or beef or – our recommendation – half of each. As in the preparation of Turkish köfte, onions are grated so that their juice is released, unlike when they are just cut. The seasoning is salt, pepper, mild paprika powder, cayenne pepper and ground cumin. Fresh coriander, mint and parsley are also added.
The herbs are washed and shaken dry, the leaves plucked off and chopped not too finely. Then the meat is thoroughly mixed with the grated onions, the spices and the herbs, which is best done by hand. In any case, make sure not to compress the mixture too much so that the kefta do not become too firm later.
The finished mixture is kept covered in the refrigerator. It is ideal if you can give it two hours so that the flavours disperse. However, earlier processing is possible.
Now for the sauce:
We start by washing the lentils and then boiling them in twice the amount of water until they are just soft but not falling apart. Usually green lentils are used, but today we chose red lentils that we still had in the larder. The only thing that matters is that you choose small and quick-cooking lentils (cooking time 15 – 20 minutes).
Then some chopped onion is sautéed with a tiny bit of chilli in olive oil over medium-high heat. We used a crumbled Italian peperoncino.
When the onions start to brown gently, we add chopped garlic, which we sauté for about 2 minutes.
Now we add chopped tomatoes (or tomato passata) and season with salt, a little icing sugar, black pepper, paprika (we recommend Spanish pimentón de la vera) and cumin.
Then we add our lentils together with the cooking liquid. If the mixture becomes too dry at any point, we add a little water. If it seems too liquid, we remove the lid to allow the liquid to evaporate.
Now we form kefta with a diameter of 2 – 3 cm from our meat mixture, put them into the sauce and turn them occasionally in it. After another 10 minutes, the meat is cooked. To test this, we divide a kefta and have a look.
We use a wooden spoon to make room for one egg per person. We crack each egg into a small bowl to make sure the yolk remains intact. From the bowl, we then carefully pour them one by one onto the hot sauce.
We put the lid on so that the steam also gently cooks the eggs from above. Of course, we do not stir any more. After 4 – 5 minutes, the egg white has set and the yolk is still liquid. It is important not to overcook the eggs, because the hot sauce will continue to cook them for a little while, even after the pan has been removed from the heat.
As soon as the eggs are (almost) done, we remove the lid, add generously plucked herbs (parsley, coriander and/or mint) and place the pan on the table so that we can serve directly from it.
This great dish tastes best with freshly made flatbread. We opt for crispy Meloui. You can find the recipe here.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients ( for 4 people):
For the Kefta:
500 g minced meat (beef and/or lamb)
200 g onions, grated
20 g each parsley, coriander and mint (weight with stems)
1 ½ tsp mild paprika powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper (or just paprika if you want it milder)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp (5 g) salt
½ tsp pepper
For the tajine:
A little olive oil
optional: a little chilli
3 cloves of garlic
400 g (1 can) chopped or strained tomatoes
Salt and icing sugar to taste (approx. ½ tsp each)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika powder
ground pepper to taste
100 g dry lentils (green or red, quick-cooking) washed and pre-cooked
Fresh herbs (parsley, coriander and/or mint)