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Tunisian Meatballs From 'One Good Dish'

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[Photograph: Gentl & Hyers]

My obsession with meatballs rivals only my long-held fixation with David Tanis's first cookbook. So I couldn't stand to cook through his new cookbook, One Good Dish, without trying his Tunisian meatballs. In his recipe, miniature, well-spiced nuggets of beef or lamb are briefly fried in olive oil before being simmered in a simple, fragrant sauce of broth, onions, and tomato paste. Tanis thickens the sauce using a bit of magic—lightly flouring the meatballs before frying and simmering. The small amount of flour left on the meatballs turns the sauce to velvet, and it clings to both the meat and the buttery pilaf of Israeli couscous and raisins.

Why I picked this recipe: These meatballs, served with buttery couscous, were one of the most substantial meals in Tanis's book. Also, I love meatballs.

What worked: The long list of spices came together in great harmony, and the completed meatballs were perfectly tender.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: Tanis suggests using beef or lamb in the meatballs. I think they'd also be great with ground pork. I had fregola sitting in the pantry, so I used it in lieu of the couscous to great success.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of One Good Dish to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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