Although I am typing this surrounded by cardboard boxes in anticipation of my house-move (the reason for the slow-down in posting here: normal service will be resumed as soon as possible), and half my kitchen is already packed away, I still need to feed myself. In such circumstances, it is easy to turn to convenience foods and take-out meals, but I still want to eat real food. Obviously, though, I want something that is quick and easy to prepare, so I can then get on with the packing (amazing what you find in the loft, isn’t it?)
This simple little meatball dish is inspired by Turkish or Greek Kofte, but you can change the meat and the spicing to anything you like or have to hand. You could use fish instead, and even change the carbohydrate to cooked rice, couscous, cracked wheat or whatever. It is my favourite kind of food: infinitely adaptable once you’ve got the basic idea. It is also a good way to use up leftovers, which is a persistent Guerilla Griller theme.
For the basic meatballs, you will need:
2 slices of stale bread, crusts removed, soaked in water for a few minutes
1lb/500grams minced/ground fresh or leftover lamb, beef, pork etc
1 small to medium onion, grated or diced finely
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or diced finely
2 tablespoons chopped mint (although I always prefer fresh herbs, the dried mint works OK here, if that’s all you have)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (dried parsley is horrible, so omit if you don’t have fresh)
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
A little plain/all purpose flour for dusting
A little oil for frying
Squeeze out as much water as you can from the bread, getting it as dry as possible. Combine all the ingredients and mix well: use a food processor if you like, but it’s not difficult to do this by hand.
Form into small balls, perhaps the size of a walnut. Dust or roll lightly in the flour, then fry gently until they are taking a good colour and are cooked through. This can take anything from 3-10 minutes, depending on the size of the balls and the heat. You may need to cook them in batches if you don’t have a big enough pan. Or you could grill/broil them, or put them in the oven, which will take a bit longer: about 15-20 minutes.
These can be served in many ways: with pasta, rice, some form of potato. On their own with a salad. Perhaps make a simple tomato sauce to go with them. Or serve in a split baguette or similar.
If you’ve used leftover meat, and slices of yesterday’s bread, this is almost a free meal, as well as a tasty and very quick one, which is great for the wallet as well as the soul.