Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cookbook Challenge Week 50 - Picnic

Recipe: Turkey & sweetcorn meatballs with roasted pepper sauce
Cookbook: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (2008)

Ottolenghi is the London restaurant of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Their cooking is influenced by their childhoods in Jerusalem and shows the influence of the Middle East, the Levant and France.

This cookbook precedes 'Plenty', which was recently featured in 'Delicious' magazine. I picked up my copy from lay-by a couple of weeks ago and this is the first recipe I have made from it. I am very impressed with the flavours of this dish and plan to dip into this book often. It won't be one that gathers dust on the shelf.

100g sweetcorn
3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed
500g minced turkey breast (I actually used minced turkey thigh and combined it with chicken mince)
1 egg
4 spring onions
2 tbls finely chopped parsley
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 crushed garlic clove
sunflower oil for frying

Roasted pepper sauce
4 red peppers (I used capsicums)
3 tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt
25g coriander, leaves and stalks
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 small mild chilli, de-seeded
2 tbls sweet chilli sauce
2 tbls cider vinegar or white wine vinegar


Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Prepare the peppers for the sauce by quartering them, shaving off the white parts & seeds with a sharp knife. Put them in a roasting tray, toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until soft.

Transfer the hot peppers to a bowl and cover with cling film. Once they have cooled down a little, peel them (although this isn't essential for this sauce - I didn't) and then blitz them in a blender or food processor with their juices from the roasting pan and the rest of the sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth, salt to taste and set aside.

For the meatballs, place a heavy, non-stick frying pan over a high heat and throw in the corn kernels. Toss them in the pan for 2-3 minutes until lightly blackened. Remove and leave to cool.

Soak the bread into cold water for a minute, then squeeze well and crumble into a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except the sunflower oil and mix well with your hands. With wet hands, shape the mince mix into balls about the size of golf balls.

Meatballs ready to be cooked.

Pour 5mm depth of sunflower oil (or other vegetable based oil) into the heavy frying pan. Allow it to heat up well and then fry about a teaspoonful of the mince mix in it. Remove, let cool and then taste. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper in the mince mix if necessary.

Cook the meatballs in small batches in the hot oil, turning them around in the pan until they are golden brown all over. Transfer to an oven tray, place in the pre-heated oven at 200oC and cook for about 5 minutes. When you press one with your finger, the meat should bounce back. If unsure, you can always break one open and taste it to be sure!

Serve with the pepper sauce on the side.

These turkey and sweetcorn meatballs with roasted pepper sauce would add colour and spice to any picnic spread. It was too wet to eat them outside last Sunday, so we plated them up with salad and enjoyed them for lunch. Hot or cold, these meatballs are flavoursome. The cooked sweetcorn provides a delicious, sweet pop in your mouth as you bite into them. I really liked the sauce in this recipe. It is full of flavour, rich, sweet and spicy without being cloying. It would be the perfect accompaniment to meat or seafood dishes on a hot, summers day.

I would recommend making them the day before, as they are little bit time consuming to prepare. This would also allow the flavours to develop and intensify even further!


  1. Wow - even raw these meatballs look tasty. I love the sound of the sauce also with coriander and chilli - yum.

  2. Thanks! The sauce is great, very tasty and I think it could be a great sauce for a bbq meats or seafood.

  3. What a great idea for a BBQ, I love adding some falvour to the traditional aussie cook up and they look delicious.