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Shared by Hagit Bilia

Meatballs with Onion "Jam"

Yield: 6-8 servingsTime: 1 h and 30 min

Meatballs with Onion "Jam"

Yield: 6-8 servingsTime: 1 h and 30 min

Family Journey

Bad Reichenhall, GermanyHaifaTel Aviv
Fort Lauderdale Casablanca, MoroccoHaifaTel Aviv

The cooking on food blogger Hagit Bilia’s Moroccan side of the family was joyful and well spiced with cinnamon and cumin. There were dishes like turmeric chicken, salads, and meatballs with caramelized onions that become almost like a jam with the addition of raisins. Hagit’s grandmother never shared her recipes with Hagit. When she was asked about a dish, Sul would give vague directions like “stir until it’s tasty,” Hagit explains. But, “I remember the flavors and the taste. And I remember the smell of her kitchen,” she adds. Overtime, Hagit was able to recreate this recipe. 

Read more about Hagit's family in "A Classic Chicken Soup For Every Season" and try her recipes for cholent with chickpeas and chicken noodle soup.


For the patties/meatballs

  • ¾ pound ground beef
  • ¾ pound ground chicken (dark meat)
  • 1 teaspoon ground Ras El Hanout spice blend
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten

For the Onion “Jam”

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar or 1 tablespoon pomegranate concentrate
  • ½ cup golden raisins

For garnish (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons roasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 5 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint, de-stemmed and chopped 
Main CoursesMeat North Africa


  • Step 1

    Make the meatball mixture: Place the beef, chicken, Ras El Hanout, cardamom, cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, salt, pepper, baking soda, onions, parsley, ketchup and egg into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix well until everything is combined well. Cover and refrigerate. 

  • Step 2

    Make the onion “jam”: Place the olive oil in a wide pan or pot over medium/medium-low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and salt and sweat the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, pepper, and raisins and saute the mixture for about 30 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are soft and a deep golden brown. Transfer off the heat and set aside. 

  • Step 3

    Sear the meatballs and assemble the pot: Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide pot over medium high heat. Place the semolina flour on a rimmed plate and place the beaten eggs into a separate wide bowl. Take about 1 heaping tablespoon of the meatball mixture and shape it into a 2 inch circular patty. Coat the patty in the semolina flour, shaking off any excess and then dip and coat the patty in the eggs, shaking off any excess. Gently place the patty into the hot oil in the pot. Repeat and continue shaping and adding as many pattys into the pot as you can fit without overcrowding. Sear the patties on both sides until lightly golden, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer onto a plate and continue searing the remaining patties in batches. 

  • Step 4

    Once all the patties are cooked, return them into the pot in a few layers (the same one that you seared them in). Add 1 ½  cups of water and evenly sprinkle the onion “jam” on top. Place a lid on the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook on a low simmer for 30 minutes until the patties are cooked through and the liquid has reduced.

  • Step 5

    Sprinkle the walnuts, parsley and mint on top of the meatballs, if using and serve hot. Serve with a side of rice.