Eat & Drink

Cookbook Challenge: “Ottolenghi” – Turkey and sweetcorn meatballs with roasted pepper sauce

  • February 9, 2018
Turkey Meatballs

Sorry (not sorry) that my blog is becoming more of a cooking/ food blog than a travel blog. But we have been stationary the last month and a half. Its been a nice break from airplanes and hotels. But in the meantime, I’ve been cooking a lot of great food, which is my other passion besides trekking around the world. But this week I get to share with you an amazing Turkey Meatball recipe as part of my cookbook challenge — that you can read about here.

The Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (referral linked to Amazon) is seriously amazing. Its actually one I use frequently. We love everything I’ve made out of it and this recipe is no exception. Also, I have a soft spot in my heart for anything Ottoleghi because my husband and I visited both an Ottolenghi, and Nopi when we were in London last fall — you can read about that adventure here. Now back to the food!

This recipe is not hard at all, and the ingredients are very accessible and you probably have most of them in your fridge/pantry. It does require a few steps but the flavors are worth it. I’ll walk you through how I did it.

First here is the equipment I used. You need one baking sheet pan (I also recommend using parchment paper), a heavy bottomed pan for frying up meatballs (I use a 12 inch Lodge Cast Iron skillet which is my go to for nearly everything). You also need a blender for the sauce. We have a Vitamix and though pricey — we use it daily for soups, smoothies, dressings and more. We LOVE it.

Recipe: Turkey and sweetcorn meatballs with roasted pepper sauce

2/3 C sweetcorn kernels (fresh or frozen)
3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed
1 pound minced free-range or organic turkey breast
1 free-range egg
4 spring onions, finely chopped (or two like I did)
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
sunflower oil for frying

Roasted pepper sauce:
4 red peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
a few cilantro stalks and leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small mild chili, deseeded (I just used half a jalapeno without seeds, it was not spicy)
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (Trader Joes as a great one for a good price!)
2 tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Step one make the sauce:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To prepare the peppers for the sauce, quarter them and shave off the white parts and the seeds. I actually only had three peppers of different colors and it turned out great. So if you have green or orange, use those.Put them in a roasting tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt, then roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until soft. I again like to use parchment paper – it just makes clean up so easy. I buy mine in big rolls at Costco.  When done, transfer the hot peppers to a bowl and cover it with cling film.

Once they have cooled down a little, put them in a blender or food processor with their roasting juices and add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Process until smooth, then taste and adjust the salt if necessary. Set aside.

Step two: 

While the peppers are cooking — throw your corn kernels in a hot pan. I used my cast iron – heat them up for 2–3 minutes, until lightly blackened. Remove and leave to cool.

Next, soak the bread in cold water for a minute, then squeeze well and crumble it into a large bowl. I had a few baguette’s in the freezer that I defrosted and pulled the middle soft section out of. It worked fine.

Finally, add all the rest of the ingredients except the sunflower oil and mix well with your hands. When I made it, it was very, very soft and sticky.

Step three: 

Pour a good amount of sunflower oil into your heavy frying pan (cover the bottom). Allow it to heat up well. With wet hands, shape the turkey mix into balls, about the size of golf balls. You are going to have to cook about half of them at a time. Make sure they are golden brown all over. After the turkey meatballs are browned put them on a baking sheet (again I suggest the parchment paper so they don’t stick and easy clean up).

When the turkey meatballs are all browned put them in the oven. The original recipe called for 5 minutes, but I found they were not done inside. I would do a check around 5 minutes – but likely you are going to need to cook them for a solid 10 minutes. (Its poultry so I wouldn’t mess around with raw meat).

Serve hot or warm, with the pepper sauce on the side.

Side dish suggestions — make some fluffy steamed Quinoa (If you have an instant Pot — do 1 C Quinoa with 1.5 C water and set the RICE setting which cooks for 12 minutes. Make sure the setting is on sealed- it turns out fluffy and perfect!)

This Za’atar roasted carrots and avocado dish would be a PERFECT accompanying dish and its super easy. Recipe here.  

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