cooked rice, couscous, or quinoa, plus extra cilantro/parsleyfor serving (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, mix together half the diced yellow onion, the breadcrumbs (1/3 cup), milk (1/4 cup), egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt (see notes), and 1 tablespoon of the ras el hanout.
Add the ground lamb to the bowl and mix until everything is just combined (try not to over mix- using your hands is a good way to combine everything but you can use a spoon if you prefer).
Heat the olive oil (2 tablespoons) in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Roll the lamb mixture into 1-inch balls (I like using a cookie scoop to measure them equally into my hands, then give them a gentle roll) and place directly in the skillet. When all the meatballs have been added, sear for 1 more minute undisturbed. Flip to the other side (starting with the meatballs that were added to the skillet first) and allow to sear for 2 more minutes. Remove to a plate.
Add the other half of the diced onions to the skillet and sauté until softened and starting to brown (about 3 minutes- there should be plenty of oil and fat left in the skillet but if it's dry you can add some more olive oil). Turn down the heat to medium and add the minced garlic (2 cloves) and the other 1 tablespoon of ras el hanout and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer, until spices and garlic are fragrant. Add the canned diced tomatoes (15 oz.), the chicken broth (1 cup), and the raisins (1/4 cup), stir together, and bring to a gentle simmer.
Place the meatballs and any juices from the plate into the sauce and simmer uncovered without stirring too much for 10 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has reduced and thickened a bit.
Turn off heat and stir in the chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (1/4 cup) and juice of one lime. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Serve the meatballs and sauce on cooked rice, couscous, or quinoa, with extra herbs sprinkled on top if desired.
If you don't have pre-mixed Ras el Hanout, you can make your own! Mix together 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin, 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander, 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. This will yield the 2 tablespoons needed for this recipe. Here's how to make your own Ras el Hanout.
Check if your Ras el Hanout already has salt. Some pre-mixed versions contain salt; others do not. If yours does, omit the added kosher salt in this recipe and adjust seasoning to taste when you are finished.
This recipe is a great make ahead meal. It reheats well in the microwave or on the stovetop, so you can make it for meal prep, or cook the meatballs and sauce and reheat and make a fresh batch of rice to serve with for dinner. You can also freeze the meatballs in an airtight container for up to 6 months - I recommend defrosting before reheating so the meatballs don't get too overcooked.
This recipe was inspired by Evi Aki's North African Meatballs in her cookbook, Flavors of Africa.