Middle Eastern Meatballs , Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam, is a recipe that is so simple to execute and that is at the same time full of amazing flavors, textures, and aromas. Flavors are the foundation of cooking, sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami are five taste elements that build our overall perception of flavor. You hear chefs talk about how ingredients work and play together, how they support each other and balance into a flavor combination. This Mediterranean Meatballs recipe is all of the above, using simple cooking techniques in harmony.
If you think about it, there are so many things we expect from a meatball.
Listed in no specific order, they are:
- Nothing fancy, that is the point anyway
- Moist and delicate – they need to hold together
- Appealing, sustainable, and nutritional
- Reasonable priced
- Mindful prepared and amazing
- Make us feel good
- Taste like heaven
You have to agree that is a lot to ask of a simple meatball and a ton of decisions need to be made before preparation and execution. Something is intriguing about the process of making great meatballs and when properly mixed with spices and seasonings they are so good. Give me meatballs, Middle Eastern meatballs with sweet, and spicy tomato jam cooked perfectly on a sheet pan, finished over medium heat in a skillet for that awesome color and aroma, and I’m in heaven.
A perfect meatball is not just about the meatball:
A meatball is about the perfect balance between the layering of flavors and the contrast with all the other components that come with your dish.
- The quality of the meat you select is important, using meat that has no antibiotics, no hormones, and is raised humanely makes such a difference.
- Sweet, and spicy tomato jam adds that wonderful Moroccan flavor of sweet, spicy, and cinnamon.
- Serve with Lemon Bulgur pilaf that is seasoned and cooked with Ras el Hanout
- Adding Hummus adds creaminess and another refreshing layer of flavor and texture to the dish.
- The flavor explosion of the parsley and cilantro powder finishes the dish perfectly
The sweet and hot tomato jam recipe is a recipe from Joyce Goldstein. As a chef lecturer and author, she has written 28 cookbooks, many of them award-winners. Chef Joyce is an expert on the cuisines of Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa. I had the pleasure to work with Chef Joyce a few years ago, cooking some of her recipes. Her recipe for the hot and spicy tomato jam includes only a few simple ingredients; canned whole peeled tomatoes, onion, salt, pepper, honey, garlic, cinnamon, and ground ginger, however when combined, they create an explosive flavor profile. Tomato jam is easy to make. Once the onions are sauteed, everything goes into a heavy-bottomed pot and cooks slowly until thickened into a sauce-like consistency. Stir the jam occasionally. Using a heavy-bottomed pot like a Dutch oven will keep the jam from burning. If you love to preserve fruits, have you checked out her cookbook Jam Session, a Fruit Preserving Handbook? The photos and recipes are fantastic and show the true beauty of the product and the preserves.
Pomegranate Molasses glazed Middle Eastern Meatballs,
Hummus, oven-roasted tomatoes, and Lemon Bulgur Pilaf
Middle Eastern Meatballs, Sweet & Spicy Tomato Jam
Moroccan Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam
- 3 tbsp butter, salted unsalted
- 1 onion shredded fine with a box grater to yield about 1 cup
- 2 cloves garlic minced fine
- 1 tsp cinnamon, ground ground
- 1/2 tsp ginger, ground ground
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or a bit less
- 28 ounce whole peeled tomatoes caned
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch black pepper, ground
- 6 ounce beef chuck ground - 90/10
- 10 ounce turkey ground
- 1/2 cup bulgur # 2
- 1 cup water
- 1 onion medium, diced
- 1 1/2 cup panko
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
- 1 1/4 tsp cumin, ground
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 3/4 tsp allspice ground
- 1/2 tbsp paprika powder sweet
- 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper ground
- 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 tsp parsley cilantro powder
Cook the Bulgur
- Bring one cup of water to a boil, add the bulger, cover the saucepan with a lid, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, remove from saucepan, fluff with a fork, set aside, and cool.1/2 cup bulgur # 2, 1 cup water
Cook the Tomato Jam
- Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the shredded onions and garlic and sauté until tender over low heat, or about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne, and cook for a few minutes. Then add the tomato and honey and cook/simmer for about 20 minutes. Let it thicken a bit so it can coat the meatballs. Season with salt and pepper. This can be made ahead. Warm the sauce just before serving time.3 tbsp butter, salted, 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp cinnamon, ground, 1/2 tsp ginger, ground, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 28 ounce whole peeled tomatoes, 1/4 cup honey, 1 pinch sea salt, 1 pinch black pepper, ground
Make the Meatballs
- Place the ground beef and the ground turkey into a bowl. Add the diced onions, panko bread crumbs, cooked bulgur, and the remaining ingredients. Mix gently using your fingers until the ingredients are combined.6 ounce beef chuck, 10 ounce turkey, 1 1/2 cup panko, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, 1 pinch sea salt, 1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground, 1 1/4 tsp cumin, ground, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, ground, 3/4 tsp allspice ground, 1/2 tbsp paprika powder sweet, 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper, 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes, 2 eggs, 1 onion
- Heat a pan over medium heat. Form a small patty of the meat mixture and cook until done. Taste for salt and spices and adjust if needed.
Cook the meatballs
- Roll the mixture into 1-ounce meatballs.
- Preheat oven to 375 ℉ Place meatballs on a lightly creased sheet pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Sautee the baked meatballs in a pan over medium-high heat to give them a beautiful brown color.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate