spicy meatballs

Moroccan Spicy Meatballs Recipe

Spicy Meatballs are the Sephardi answer to hamburgers.

In this dish, chicken livers, chicken breasts and lamb get equal time, and the finished dish is above and beyond the sum of its parts. The spices in the cooking liquid reduce to a delightful sauce. Try a spicy meatballs sandwich!

I always loved this Moroccan tajine we grew up with:

In the finished dish the chicken breasts were diced, the chicken livers were whole and the lamb was shaped into meatballs. I made it, and it was quite delicious but a little messy. When I recently asked my mother how she kept every item so neat and presentable, her “secret” was just too time consuming. Next time around, I ground the broiled chicken livers, the chicken breasts and the lamb, and made spicy meatballs with the whole mixture. Sure enough, I found making the dish this way much more accessible and much lower maintenance, and every bit as delicious.

Chicken livers are not for chopped liver only (don’t get me wrong: I LOVE chopped liver!)

You can save time further by buying the chicken livers broiled: make sure they are broiled properly, not all dried out: We want them tender and creamy!


  • Cooking liquid:
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  • Meatball Mixture:
  • 2 good pinches red pepper flakes, a little more if you like it hotter
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound chicken cutlets
  • 1 pound broiled chicken livers
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin (goes in all the way at the end)
  • 4 tablespoons minced parsley, for garnish


Bring the cooking liquid ingredients to boil in a wide heavy pot.

Process all meatballs ingredients until smooth. Transfer the ground mixture to a bowl. Form meatballs, and throw in the hot liquid as you shape them, using up the whole mixture. Reduce the flame to medium, and cook covered 30 minutes.
Stir in the cumin and cook 5 more minutes. Check the liquid in the pot: If it is too thin, reduce on a high flame until thickened to the consistency of maple syrup. Transfer the meatballs and their sauce to a platter. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings

4 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *