cauliflower-stuffed meatball ragout in spicy tomato sauce

prep time:  45 minutes
cook time:  50 minutes
servings:  4 - 6

meatball ingredients:
6 cups olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
1 medium-sized head cauliflower
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion - finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon tabil 
1 teaspoon salt + more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper + more for seasoning
2 large eggs - beaten

sauce ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon harisa
1/2 teaspoon ground red chili

meatball steps:
1.  preheat frying oil in a deep fryer or 8-inch deep saucepan to 327 degrees.  bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the whole cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes.   drain well and break into small florets.

2.  place the meat, onion, cinnamon parsley, tabil, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until well blended.  remove to a bowl.

3.  place some flour in a bowl.  have a bowl of water handy to keep your hands wet while making meatballs.  flatten a lemon-sized portion of meat into a thin patty and wrap the patty around a cauliflower floret to completely enclose.  form into an oval shape, then dip into the eggs and dredge in flour, tapping off any excess flour.

4.  cook the meatballs in oil until golden, about 4 minutes, without crowding the fryer.  remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain.

sauce steps:
1.  heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.  dissolve the tomato paste in the water and add to the pan along with harisa and red chili.  add the meatballs and cook covered until most of the liquid evaporates, about 25 minutes.  add a little water to re-hydrate sauce if it dried out before that time.  serve meatballs covered in sauce.

- food network

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