Slow Cooker North African Meatballs

north african meatballs in crock pot

What? North African cuisine in the Crock-Pot? Yeah baby!  When I saw this recipe, I immediately tagged it and made a note: "MUST MAKE THIS RECIPE!"  I love love love food from this region - influenced by the cuisines of many different cultures including Bedouin, Berber, Arab, Jewish, Persian, Turkish and Moorish as well as those of European countries such as France, Spain and Italy.  Seriously, how can you go wrong with a pedigree like this?  And although certainly not in a Crock-Pot, North African cuisines also make extensive use of slow cooking - think of the classic Moroccan tagine.  Combine yummy flavors with dump-n-go ease and you have a keeper of a recipe.

Slow Cooker North African Meatballs (adapted from this recipe by Deborah Bier)

1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. cooked, frozen turkey meatballs (NOT Italian flavored!), un-defrosted (such as Trader Joe's)
1 (15-oz.) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (remember, Eden has no BPA)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. golden raisins (or regular old raisins if golden are not available/handy)
1/3 c. pitted green olives, drained and chopped
1.5 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground cinnamon
2 t. ground smoked paprika
1.5 T. ground sweet paprika
1 t. ground turmeric
1/2 t. ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 t. oregano leaf, lightly crushed just before adding
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 (28-oz.) box crushed tomatoes (such as Pomi)
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

To a slow cooker, add the above ingredients in the order above. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for approximately 6 hours until the meatballs are tender and the flavors are well blended. Stir once half-way through the cooking time, if possible.  Before serving, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

Couscous is a staple in this region . . . it slurps up sauces like nobody's business.  So serve this over cooked couscous - why not try the whole wheat variety for added nutrition?  And to give your couscous a flavor boost, try making it with low-sodium chicken broth instead of water.  Either way, in 5 minutes, your starch is ready!

Serves 4-6.