52 Cookbooks #24: Leon Moroccan meatballs

Well if you're going to cook a recipe from the Leon chain you might as well as cook their iconic meatballs!  So that's the recipe I chose from the first Leon cookbook by Allegra McEvedy.

I love Leon's food and marvel at how they manage to make brown rice taste appealing to the masses!  The book was first published in 2008, and I probably bought it that year.

There's an interesting fact in the intro to this recipe which is that since Leon opened they have rolled over 5 million meatballs (by hand!) which side by side they could run the entire length of the Central line and back again - and that was in 2008!

Which is a whole lot of balls.  And I wonder how many more times it'd be now...

The recipe calls for lamb mince, which was unfortunate as I'd defrosted minced beef - oh well, onwards and upwards. Instead of breadcrumbs it uses some wholemeal flatbreads soaked in milk (in the shops they use water to keep it dairy-free, but Allegra McEvedy says they're softer with milk but it's not a biggie) I used milk, but swapped the flatbreads for a slice of crust-less sourdough. 

I also out-sourced the meatball shaping to MOH. Didn't he do well? (...she says sounding very much like Brucie)

The other ingredients in the meatballs are: parsley, mint, dried oregano and garlic. Yeap, they're pretty fragrant!

They're browned and put to one side while you make the sauce which has a lovely spicy Harissa kick.  As you'd expect there's olive oil, garlic and chopped tomatoes as well as the Harissa, some basil and some more parsley. 

Then the meatballs go back in and you cook it "until the sauce looks about right" - that's my kind of recipe!

Yum. Yum. Yum. 

I served this with brown rice (which I love) a la Leon style, but went for green beans instead of coleslaw. 

The verdict:

  • I think I was always going to like these, they're iconic. 
  • I was glad I delegated the meatball shaping, but MOH didn't seem to mind. 
  • The sauce was good and would be good on its own with pasta. 
  • We had some left, which I plan on scoffing when MOH goes out to watch the last England game at the pub!!