There is no better time to make hearty stews than during winter. And while pumpkins tend to be labeled as a fall food, they carry over into the beginning of the year with ease.

Meatballs with a slightly spicy edge bathing in a cumin and gingery tomato sauce inside a tender roasted pumpkin; each bite finds an interesting mix of the Moroccan flavors. And it’s interactive dining as it’s up to the eater to scoop in the bowl as part of the dish.

Perfect for a casual family outing or for an elegant celebration dinner, this Fat and Happy Moroccan Meatball Stew will keep you warm and fill your tummy.


The base of the recipe comes from this BBC recipe.

  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup red onions, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Seasoning salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, rinse can with additional water
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 3-6  pumpkins, depending on the size
  • olive oil

For the potato topping:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 russet potato
  • 1 parsnip
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup broth

Clean and roast the pumpkins. If you have mini pumpkins, cut out the top and clean the insides. If the pumpkins are a too large to serve to one person, cut them in half and clean them out reserving the pumpkins for roasting if preferred. Slice a tiny layer off the bottom of the pumpkins if needed so they sit even. Spread a little olive oil on the inside of the pumpkins along with a little of the seasoning salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven until just fork tender. You don’t want them too mushy. The pumpkins can be roasted a day or two ahead of time.

Remove the skin from the sweet potatoes, clean the parsnip and the russet potato. Cut them all into chunks and roast until fork tender. Heat the broth with the two cloves of garlic. Mash the potatoes, using garlic-infused broth as needed for a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In the meantime:
Mix well the lamb, beef, minced onions, half of the minced garlic and half of the minced ginger, half of the cumin and cinnamon and the chili flakes. It’s usually easiest to do this by hand. Add in a bit of seasoning salt and black pepper. Roll the meat mixture into mini meatballs.

In a 4 qt pan, brown the meatballs over medium heat in a good drizzle of olive oil. Do this in batches to avoid crowding them in the pan. Once the meatballs are browned, remove from the pan and place on a large plate or bowl.

In the same pan, add in the remaining minced garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cumin and cook for 2 minutes. Stir often with a wooden spoon. Deglaze the pan with a bit of the broth and use the wooden spoon to get all the yummy browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add in the remaining broth, chickpeas and the can of tomatoes. Rinse the tomato can with about 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan. Simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes, add in the meatballs and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.

Place the roasted pumpkins on a cookie sheet and fill each pumpkin with the meatball stew. Top each stew-filled pumpkin with chopped cilantro. Top each pumpkin with the mashed potatoes. Place in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the stew and pumpkin are heated through.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: To roll the meatballs I used a half-tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop them out and to keep them all consistent. I then rolled them into tight balls from there. Squash could easily substitute in for the pumpkin bowls.

For more recipes, go to Monique’s blog: FatandHappyBlog.com

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