Recently we are trying the Keto diet. Several of my relatives have had good luck with this moderate protein, high fat, very-low carb approach to eating. It helps shake the carb addiction and promotes mental clarity. Best of all it’s a way to eat moderate calories without feeling hungry and without blood sugar crashes. All I can say after three weeks on it is that we are dropping weight that we couldn’t drop before, and best of all do not get the give-me-anything-preferably-starchy-right-NOW! kind of hungry. For more information on this diet, please see DietDoctor. I’m thinking this might be a good diet for about three months a year, but I’ll report back after I have a bit more data.
The big idea is that you are converting your body to a fat-burning rather than sugar-burning machine. It takes some transition time so you have to decide to do this diet for a couple of months – not like most diets where you can follow the rules Monday through Friday and then cheat on the weekends. Once you drop out of “ketosis” – fat-burning stage – it takes a while to get back. At first it is a very counter-intuitive diet (fat is good is the big one) so it helps to have an app helping you out. I track my meals using an app called Senza for android or iOS. Although there are lots of others apps for Keto I love the interface and food lookup on this one. But ideas like using whipping cream is better than low fat milk (which has lots more carbs since removing the fat increases the relative percentage of sugars), pork is better than low-fat turkey – these are hard to get your head around at first. The worst part is no bread or crackers or grains or beans – we use all our carbs for greens and the tiny amount of fruit you can eat. But strangely this has not been a problem for this formerly bread-loving couple. I do miss fruit. And you might be able to spare some carbs once in a while for a glass of white wine or clear liquor, but beers and sweet drinks are right out. We have decided not to drink for now, until we see how it goes. Eating bacon, avocados, bacon, butter, cream, meats, and did I mention bacon? helps with any alcohol or sugar deprivation we might feel! And of course all natural, locally sourced organic products with no hormones whenever possible is always a good step to make sure we are getting real food.
That’s a long explanation for why I’m posting a meat recipe after a couple of years of a mainly vegetarian diet. And this meat dish is certainly not just for Keto followers. The only real change is to replace the panko with coconut flour (or almond flour would work). I also added mushrooms because they’re so good for you! And low carb. This recipe is a 177 Milk Street recipe and like all of theirs it presents an international taste using easy-to-find ingredients. I find their recipes irresistible!
Moroccan Meatball Tagine with Green Olives and Lemon
A Keto-compatible recipe for a delicious Moroccan dish from 177 Milkstreet.
- ⅓ cup pimento-stuffed green olives roughly chopped
- 2 Tbs grated lemon zest
- 1 28- ounce can whole tomatoes or 1 15-oz can and extra stock
- 4 Tbs salted butter
- 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup mushrooms chopped
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 10 medium garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tbs ground cumin
- 1 Tbs ground coriander
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup beef broth + extra if short on tomatoes
- ½ cup panko or coconut flour
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro divided
- 2 large eggs cracked into a small bowl
In a small bowl, stir together the olives and lemon zest; set aside. In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juice until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, melt the butter. Add the onion, mushroom, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and pepper flakes, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Transfer ½ cup of the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
- Return the skillet to medium and add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cover and cook until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Remove from the heat.
While the sauce simmers, stir the panko or coconut flour and ½ cup water into the reserved onion mixture. If using panko let stand until the panko softens, about 5 minutes, then use your hands to mash to a smooth paste. Add the meat, ½ cup of cilantro, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide into 16 (2-tablespoon) portions, rolling them into smooth balls. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Return the sauce to medium and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs in a single layer, then spoon sauce over each. Cover, reduce to low and cook for 15 minutes. Flip each meatball, then continue to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Push the meatballs to the sides of the skillet. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Gently pour the eggs into the center, cover and cook over medium-low until the egg whites are barely set and yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes. Off heat, sprinkle the olive mixture and remaining ½ cup cilantro over the tagine.
- Optional: Serve with sour cream
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