Moroccan Kefta Stew (Spiced Meatball Stew) Recipe

2543Kefta is ground beef or lamb, typically mixed with cumin, paprika, minced onion, coriander and parsley. Cinnamon, hot ground pepper, and mint leaves are optional. The recipe below shows traditional quantities of these spices and herbs.  it’s also the foundation of a number of other Moroccan dishes. You can use lean ground meat, but the traditional recipe calls for a higher fat content. The meat, fat, spices and herbs would normally all be passed through a meat grinder together.

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The recipe below assumes that you’re starting with ground meat.

Serves 4.
For the Kefta (Meatballs):


  • 1 lb. ground beef or lamb (or a combination of the two)
  • 3 ounces beef or lamb fat (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped very fine
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (optional)


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend.
  2. To make kebabs, take small amounts of meat mixture and shape them into balls. Skewer the meatballs, squeezing to mold to the skewer.
  3. Grill for approximately five minutes on each side. (It may take less or more time, depending on how hot the grill is, and how thickly you shaped the kefta.) Watch the kebabs carefully, so you don’t dry them out.

For stew

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 2 lbs tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Add the garlic, onion, and bell pepper to the reserved oil and saute until the onion is clear.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and simmer, covered, 30 minutes until the sauce has cooked down to a thick gravy.
  3. Return the meatballs to the sauce and simmer uncovered 10 minutes more. Serve at once.

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