Kefta Tagine (Lamb Meatball, Olive, and Egg Tagine)

Cumin- and paprika-spiced kefta (lamb meatballs), baked eggs, and kalamata olives, are the hallmarks of this elegant tagine from the Moroccan restaurant Le Timgad in Paris. This recipe first appeared in our November 2012 issue along with Jay Cheshes’s story Couscous Royale.

Kefta Tagine (Lamb Meatball, Olive, and Egg Tagine) Kefta Tagine (Lamb Meatball, Olive, and Egg Tagine)
Cumin and paprika-spiced lamb meatballs are baked in a fragrant tomato sauce in this elegant tagine from Moroccan restaurant Le Timgad in Paris.
Yield: serves 8


  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 12 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 12 tbsp. paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 12 tsp. ground ginger
  • 12 tsp. crushed saffron threads
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 28 oz. canned whole peeled tomatoes in juice, drained, crushed by hand
  • 4 eggs
  • 12 cup unpitted kalamata olives
  • 14 cup finely chopped parsley


  1. Place lamb, 1 tbsp. cumin, 1 tbsp. paprika, and salt and pepper in a bowl, and mix until evenly combined. Form mixture into 12 balls, about 1 oz. each, and place on a plate; chill kefta until ready to use.
  2. Heat butter and oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining cumin and paprika, chile flakes, ginger, saffron, and bay leaf, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until broken down and sauce is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Add kefta, and cook, covered, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Crack eggs over the top, and arrange olives around eggs; cover, and continue cooking until whites are cooked and yolks are slightly runny, about 8 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with parsley before serving.