Algerian-Style Garlic Meatballs

with Chickpeas

March 9: National Meatball Day

We usually eat meatballs Italian style with tomato sauce and pasta or Swedish style with gravy, mashed potatoes and lingonberries. But we wanted to try meatballs Algerian style with chickpeas which we ate with couscous. They were a deliciously different dish to try and we especially enjoy them in celebration of National Meatball Day!


(Adapted from The Washington Post)


  • 1 cup of onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced, divided use
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided use
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • Water
  • Sliced almonds, toasted
  • Fresh parsley, chopped


In a large skillet, cook the chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat until softened and lightly browned (around 10 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked onions to a plate, leaving some oil in the skillet. Set aside. In a large bowl, mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add the ground turkey, egg, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Use a small scoop to shape into 24 meatballs. In the same skillet where the onions were cooked, brown the meatballs, being careful not to overcrowd them. They do not need to be cooked through, just browned. Transfer the browned meatballs to the plate with onions. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Saute the remaining garlic in the oil.

Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin and paprika. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Return all the meatballs and onion to the skillet.

Add the chickpeas. Pour enough water to barely cover the meatballs. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low to simmer. Cook until the meatballs are heated through (around 15 minutes). Stir occasionally. Mash a few of the chickpeas to help thicken the sauce.

While the meatballs are cooking, heat a small skillet and saute the sliced almonds for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside. When the meatballs are done, transfer everything to a serving bowl. Garnish with the toasted almonds and parsley. Serve hot.

Bitterballen (Dutch Meatballs)

September 10: Feast Day of St. Theodard of Maastritch

Highlander and his co-workers stopped in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, for a day, after a week-long business meeting in Germany. They took advantage of seeing the city before having to fly back to the United States the next morning.  Although it was just a quick tour through the quaint streets by the river, they enjoyed the sights—and snacks.

One of the most popular snacks in the Netherlands is bitterballen (deep fried beef croquettes or meatballs). Islander tried to re-create them at home so she could experience a little bit of what Highlander sampled in Amsterdam.

We also wanted to make a traditional Dutch dish with beef as an ingredient in honor of a seventh century bishop in The Netherlands—St. Theodard of Maastritch—the patron saint of drovers and cattle dealers. Try making bitterballen on his feast day for a taste of The Netherlands.


(Adapted from Taste of Home)


  • ¾ pound beef (sirloin steak)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • oil (for deep frying)


Chop the beef into ¼ inch pieces. Mince the parsley. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.

Stir in the flour and mix until smooth. Gradually stir in the broth to make the gravy. Boil until thickened. Stir in the meat. Add the chopped parsley. Cook and stir until the meat is no longer pink (about 3-5 minutes).

Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Transfer to a bowl, cool, cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours to allow the flavors to develop and solidify. In a small shallow bowl, put the breadcrumbs in it. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and oil. Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator and scoop into 1.5 inch sized balls.

Dip balls into flour mixture, then egg and then roll again to coat in breadcrumbs. Deep fry until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with mustard (optional).


  • Bitterballen has a very moist, meaty center. Make sure to fry them long enough to heat the beef inside.
  • We are working on trying more Dutch recipes and will add them to our Theme Menus list soon.