Tray-baked​ Middle Eastern meatballs with creamy eggplant and tomato sauce

In our family, fast food is when a meal can be cooked and eaten off a baking tray. I cannot remember how I came up with this recipe, but it is one that makes a nice accompaniment to rice, couscous, or pasta, bread rolls or flatbread, dips, yoghurt, herbs, salad, and even mashed potato.

Little cooking skill is necessary so anyone can learn to make it. Our kids love to help out, even Mr 2 year old.

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 500gm minced lamb or beef
  • 1 onion, grated and juice squeezed off
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Sauce

  • 1 medium eggplant, roughly peeled and diced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt for seasoning

Method

Preheat oven to 180℃. Line two trays with baking paper.

On the trays mix the roughly chopped eggplant and tomatoes together with olive oil and salt until well coated and place them into the oven to begin roasting.

While the vegetables begin to roast make the meatballs.

In a bowl mix together mince, onion, cumin and salt. Mix this really well then throw it into the bowl repeatedly to get proteins working and sticking together. The meat should become quite evenly light in colour.

Shape the mixture into meatballs, known as kofta in Arabic.

Place the meatballs on top of the roasting vegetables and pop back into the oven to finish cooking.

After 20 minutes the meatballs and vegetables should be cooked – cut a meatball in half to check. If not, let it cook a bit longer but don’t overcook your meatballs.

Once cooked, gently mix the meatballs and vegetables together and serve with your favourite accompaniments.

We like garlic yoghurt, flatbreads and salad.

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