Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout is serious meatball and vegetable goodness going on! Sure to spice up any night with tender spiced meatballs along with onions, bell peppers and eggplant blanketed in a zesty tomato-based sauce.
Place eggplant in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and let drain 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.
Toss eggplant with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread out onto a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until tender. Keep oven set at 375 degrees.
While eggplant is roasting, heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until beginning to soften. Transfer half the onion to a bowl and let cool.
Add the bell pepper to the skillet on the stovetop and continue cooking another 5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
Stir in garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander and cayenne and cook briefly (15 seconds).
Add beef broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes or until thickened. Add roasted eggplant, season to taste with salt and black pepper and keep warm.
In the bowl with the reserved onions, combine garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, panko, egg, water (or broth or milk) and half the cilantro. Mix well then add beef.
Form mixture into 1 to 1 ½-inch balls. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until 165 degrees in the center.
Transfer meatballs to the sauce and adjust seasoning as desired. Simmer 5-10 minutes so all the flavors blend.
Sprinkle with remaining fresh cilantro and serve.
MAKE AHEAD: Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Place in a large baking dish and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until bubbling. May also be reheated in a slow-cooker.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Cool thoroughly. Freeze in small portions. Thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees.