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Kefta Mkaouara with Poached Eggs

I wanted to share one more Winter Thyme Spice Exploration dish before I mentally checked into Spring.  When I discovered Kefta Mkaouara, a traditional Moroccan tagine dish, it offered all the right components.  Lovely spices, fresh herbs, wonderfully seasoned mini-meatballs, and poached eggs all slow cooked in glorious tomato and olive sauce in our new Tagine.  Beautiful. 

Kefta Mkaouara

The word ‘Tagine’ can refer to the cooking method (slow braising of meats, chicken, or fish with vegetables or fruits) or the cooking vessel (an earthenware pot with a dome shaped cover, designed to return condensation to the bottom).  In this case I used both the method and the vessel.  This dish could easily be made on the stove top in a large deep skillet with a lid, however the tagine makes a lovely oven to table serving piece, perfect for a family style meal.

Mkaouara with Poached Eggs

For this recipe, the meatballs are slow braised in the tomato and olive sauce.  Near the end of the cooking time, the eggs are poached in the sauce.  While Kefta Mkaouara {Moroccan Spicy Meatball & Tomato Tagine with Poached Eggs} incorporates quite a few herbs and spices, this is not a hot & spicy dish.  Instead it’s an aromatic dish bursting with the flavors of cinnamon, paprika, and cumin.  We served ours with white rice, infused with a hint of cinnamon.  This meal would be wonderful served with Moroccan flat bread as well.

Kefta Mkaouara with Poached Eggs
Kefta Mkaouara with Poached Eggs

Kefta Mkaouara {Moroccan Spicy Meatball & Tomato Tagine with Poached Eggs}

adapted from Christine Benlafquih
Kefta Mkaouara has all the right components. Lovely spices, fresh herbs, wonderfully seasoned mini-meatballs, and poached eggs all slow cooked in a tomato and olive sauce.
4.72 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 4


For the Kefta (meatballs)…

  • 1 lb. ground beef or lamb
  • 1 small onion fine diced
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. hot paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

For the Mkaouara sauce…

  • 2 lbs. ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded, chopped or 2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 12-15 small green olives sliced

To serve…

  • 4 eggs for poaching
  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • fresh cilantro and parsley for garnish


  • When using a tagine or dutch oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees.

For the Kefta (meatballs)…

  • Mix all ingredients until just combined. Do not overwork. Form into small meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter.

For the Mkaouara sauce…

  • In a large sauce pan over medium heat, combine all sauce ingredients (except green olives) and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Transfer into bottom portion of the tagine.
  • Nestle meatballs into sauce. Sprinkle with sliced olives. Cover tagine base with lid and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Remove tagine from oven, remove lid, with large spoon make 4 wells in sauce. Crack an egg into each well. Return lid and return tagine to oven. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until egg whites are set.

To serve…

  • Serve family style with rice and fresh cilantro and parsley.