Cooking at Home / Meat

Ottolenghi’s meatballs

I have been wanting to go to Ottolenghi ever since my friend bought me Ottolenghi: The Cook Book for my birthday last year. For some reason it’s never happened. Maybe it’s some inbuilt North/South London divide thing (I live in the South and Ottelenghi has four branches..three North of the river).

Not going there hasn’t stopped me from enjoying their food though. The cookbook is a pleasure to read. It is full of interesting facts about the origin of its food, beautiful mouth-watering recipes and great clean photography. The Turkey and sweetcorn meatballs with roasted red pepper sauce is the second recipe I have made from this cookbook. The first was a pork belly that served 6 people, cooked in sumac and white wine for hours and served with a ginger and grape relish. Incredible. I’m blogging about the meatballs instead as I could quite happily cook these once a month.

They are not extravagant or hard to make, but produce a fresh and flavoursome meal.

Using turkey mince makes the meatballs light and allows you to really taste all of the flavour you are packing into them. Cumin, fresh parsley and spring onion being the most predominant. The quantities meant that the meatballs really did stick together perfectly. They were easy to form and stayed together when fried (apart from a few bits of chargrilled sweetcorn which tasted yummy on their own).

The accompanying red pepper sauce was tangy and fresh with the perfect amount of after-taste spice. This took a bit more time to make but it was worth the wait. Roasting the

peppers first gave them a sweet, chargrilled, taste which was matched perfectly with the fresh coriander and cut through by the cider vinegar and chilli. I decided to keep it chunky to add some texture and make it easier to transport in the lunch box the day after. It worked, having a mix of red pepper chunk and juice was perfect.

Served with a simple green salad with avocado and a cold beer. Delicious.

For the full recipe click below.

Serves 4


100g sweetcorn kernels (fresh or frozen)

3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed

500g minced free-range or organic turkey breast

1 free-range egg

4 spring onions, finely chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

2  ½ tsp ground cumin

1 ½ 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

25g coriander, leaves and stalks

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 small mild chilli, deseeded

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar


1)      Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. To prepare the peppers for the sauce, quarter them with a sharp knife and shave off the white parts and the seeds. 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. Transfer the hot peppers to a bowl and cover it with cling film. Once they have cooled down a little, you can peel them, although it isn’t essential for this sauce. In any case, place 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.

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

3)      Soak the bread in cold water for a minute, then squeeze well and crumble it into a large bowl. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the sunflower oil and mix well with your hands.

4)      Pour a 5mm depth of sunflower oil into your heavy frying pan. Allow it to heat up well and then fry about a teaspoon of the mince mix in it. Remove, let cool a little and then taste. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper in the uncooked mixture to your liking.

5)      With wet hands, shape the mince mix into balls, about the size of golf balls. Cook them 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 oven at 200C/Gas mark 6 and cook for about 5 minutes. When you press one with your finger, the meat should bounce back. If unsure, break one open to check that it is cooked inside. Serve hot or warm, with the pepper sauce on the side.

2 thoughts on “Ottolenghi’s meatballs

  1. get thee to Ottolenghi quick! My fave is the one on Holland Street just off High St Ken – gawping through the window at the array of eye-level cakes, tarts and other such confections is almost as good as stepping through the door and scoffing them down! love the blog btw.

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