Deborah Jones
Kefta Tagine with Custardy Egg Yolks from Mourad New Moroccan: The Cookbook by Mourad Lahlou.
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Kefta Tagine with Custardy Egg Yolks

Mourad New Moroccan: The Cookbook, Mourad Lahlou - December 2011

Adapted from Mourad New Moroccan: The Cookbook by Mourad Lahlou.

For 6 servings (requires advance preparation)

Preserved lemons:

  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 12 to 14 lemons
  1. Place salt in large bowl; stand a lemon stem side down on cutting board; cut with sharp knife as if you are going to cut it in half, stopping about 1/2" from stem; make a perpendicular cut, stopping short of stem again, so lemon is quartered but still intact; hold lemon over bowl with salt; spread open quarters; pack in as much salt as possible, allowing excess to fall back into bowl; place lemon cut side up in a sealable jar; repeat 5 times, pushing each lemon tightly down into jar (if you can't fit the 6th lemon, add it the next day, when the lemons are softer); place lid on jar; let stand at room temperature overnight.

  2. Open jar; push down lemons; add more lemons if there is room (you can add salted lemon halves or quarters); juice remaining 6 lemons; add juice until jar is full and lemons are completely submerged; replace lid (if using screw lid, do not overtighten, as that will keep air from escaping and lid will buckle); place jar in dark dry spot; let stand 1 week, turning and shaking jar once a day to redistribute salt; add more juice if lemons are no longer submerged at any point; reserve 1 month before using.

Kefta:

  • 1 1/2 tsps. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsps. sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsps. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 3 Tbsps. onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsps. flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsps. cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsps. tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. 80 percent lean ground beef
  • 6 oz. ground lamb
  • 1 lg. egg yolk
  1. Mix spices in small bowl; reserve.

  2. Mix onion, herbs, and garlic in large bowl; add meats, reserved spice mixture, and egg yolk; mix gently with hands (be careful not to overmix); cover with plastic wrap; reserve.

Tomato sauce:

  • grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2 cups onions, cut into 1/4" dice
  • 2 Tbsps. garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups tomato puree (preferable San Marzano)
  • 1 cup carrot juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/16 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 1/2 tsps. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsps. fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsps. parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsps. cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Add enough oil to coat bottom of large saucepan; set over medium-high heat; add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and just beginning to caramelize around edges (12 to 14 minutes); add garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 2 minutes); add tomato puree; bring to a boil; stir in 1 cup water, carrot juice, spices, and thyme; bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium; simmer until reduced by 1/3 (about 40 minutes); stir in 1 1/2 Tbsps. preserved lemon rind, cut into 1/8" dice, parsley, and cilantro; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

Assembly:

  • grapeseed or canola oil
  • 6 lg. egg yolks, at room temperature
  • Urfa pepper
  • fennel fronds (optional)
  • extra-virgin olive oil (for serving)
  1. Divide kefta in half; wrap half in plastic wrap; reserve for another use; roll remaining kefta into 20 balls; flatten slightly to make 1 1/2" patties; add enough grapeseed oil to coat large nonstick skillet; set over medium-high heat; working in batches, cook patties until brown (1 to 1 1/2 minutes); flip; cook on other side until brown (1 to 1 1/2 minutes); place on paper towels to drain; reserve.

  2. Add enough tomato sauce to make 1/2" layer in a tagine or lidded round baking dish; reserve remaining sauce for another use; bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium; arrange yolks in a circle in tagine; cover; cook until yolks are warm (1 to 1 1/2 minutes); arrange kefta around yolks; reserve (keep warm).

  3. To serve, cut 2 preserved lemon quarters into 9 strips each; scatter over tagine; sprinkle with Urfa pepper; garnish with fennel; drizzle with olive oil.