Meatballs with Preserved Lemon, cookbooks & family plans

Way back in the beginning of time when we were first talking about having our family reunion in Morocco, I bought a Moroccan cookbook: ‘the food of Morocco, a journey for food lovers’. It’s a wonderful cookbook, with beautiful photos…..

When I was actually in Morocco I bought real (I think) Moroccan cookbooks. They’re not big, coffee-table books but small, paperbacks with (I think) authentic recipes.

I bought three…. Two are in French and one in Spanish.

My cookbook collection grows ever more diverse.

Back to the meatballs…..

This was the first Moroccan dish I made out of my first Moroccan cookbook.

It’s still our favorite. These are simply the best meatballs I have ever made – or eaten.

Meatballs with Preserved Lemon

Total time: 75 minutes


  • Meatballs:
  • 16oz (500gr) ground beef
  • 2 tbs minced shallot
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 tbs dried parsley
  • 2 tbs dried bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Sauce:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (12oz, 360gr) chicken stock
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbs dried parsley
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed, pulp removed, chopped and rind cut into strips

Meatballs with Preserved Lemon


  • Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs and mix very well, kneading until it gets almost paste-like.  Form into 1 1/2″ (4cm) balls.  Set aside.
  • In tagine or large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil until tender, 6 – 7 minutes.
  • Add paprika, cumin and sauté 1 minute longer.
  • Add stock, oregano and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer, add meatballs, keeping them separate, cover and simmer 45 minutes.
  • Add parsley, lemon juice and preserved lemon, simmer 2 minutes longer to combine flavors.
  • Serve over couscous or rice.

Print Recipe

Lest you think we decided on Morocco five years ago and simply moved forward from there I should offer a few more details.

Morocco was greeted with enthusiasm, initially.

Then someone suggested Greece. I’ve not been to Greece so I was happy with that. I bought a Greek cookbook.

The idea was presented that a great way to see Greece was on a cruise. Sounds like fun!

Well, cruises are wonderful, but some people had been to Greece… Why don’t we take a Baltic Cruise?

I’ve always wanted to see St. Petersburg.

Before I could buy a Russian cookbook cruises were out (I forget the reason.)

Northern Europe was mentioned… as was Eastern Europe, Turkey, Egypt, China and a few other places.

Eventually, after four years of ‘on again – off again’ discussions, we came back to Morocco.

Before we left Marrakesh a few locations were tossed out for the next reunion. Nothing serious enough for me to buy cookbooks yet, though.

Have the fun of travel is in the planning.

Last update on December 13, 2015

9 thoughts on “Meatballs with Preserved Lemon, cookbooks & family plans”

  1. Evidently, I don’t either. I tried unsuccessfully to find them after your last recipe with them, but no luck. 🙁

  2. Sounds delicious! I love collecting cookbooks too. I fear I may soon run out of room for them.
    Did you enjoy the meatballs? I’m not sure I would keep the lemon slivers that large as I find preserved lemon a bit overpowering. Curious to hear your thoughts.

  3. Dan, they do very well against cold weather….

    deebar, well…. you can make your own preserved lemons, …. or add a half of a fresh lemon with a bit of sugar to offset,, maybe 1 tsp or so.

    nightsmusic, make some – they keep a really long time… Dan gave us the link = thanks Dan!

    Kate – you’ll come, right?

    dishinthekitchen, I love the preserved lemon so that’s okay for me,,,but you could sliver them a bit thinner – same flavor for the meatballs.

  4. I have made these many times, they are great and freeze really well! Delicious with bulgur. Do not double unless you are using 2 large pots as the meatballs will likely stick together.

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