Thursday, 25 September 2014

This week in my kitchen :: Turkey meat balls in tomato sauce with spaghetti, and seasonal greens

Capturing my love of whole foods, combined with the activity of a bustling kitchen.
A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home. 
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Turkey meat balls in tomato sauce with spaghetti and seasonal greens.

Ingredients for about fourteen good sized meatballs  (two large portions or three to four smaller ones) :

  • 500gm uncooked minced turkey breast meat
  • two medium sized onions 
  • as many garlic cloves as you like
  • a couple of sticks of celery
  • a handfull of mushrooms, any variety will do
  • about six large tomatoes you may also like to use a little tomato paste depending on the flavour and colour of the tomatoes
  • a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and a sage or any other herbs that are available. Thyme would be good
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • spaghetti or pasta of choice. I used spelt spaghetti
  1. Preheat the oven to about 180c. Pour a little olive oil to cover the base of an oven proof dish. Wash the tomatoes and cut any large ones in half. Place them, skin side up into the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place the rosemary or thyme on top. Cook in a moderate oven until roasted and tender. This should take about forty-five minutes, depending on the size and how ripe they are. This sauce is perfect for using up any that may be a little past their prime. 
  2. Peel and very finely chop the onions. Pour a little olive oil into a heavy based pan and cook until caramelised. 
  3. Meanwhile crush or chop the garlic, de-vein and finely chop the celery and chop the mushrooms. You can also prepare the greens at this point too. I removed the stalks from spring greens putting the stalks to one side to add to soup at a later time.Then cut the leaves into biggish slices and reserve till needed (9). 
  4. Once the onions are cooked add the garlic and season. Cook the garlic a little and then add the celery and mushrooms. Continue to cook until all the ingredients are tender.
  5. Once cooked remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  6. When cooled down, combine half of this mixture with the minced turkey meat, reserving the other half of the vegetables for the sauce. You may like to add a little more seasoning at this point plus the finely chopped sage leaves. Mix well. You can check the seasoning by taking a little bit of the mixture and cooking it in a frying pan. If it's to your taste, form the rest of the mixture into balls otherwise adjust the seasoning and try again. Cook all the meat balls in a little oil and keep warm whilst you make the sauce. 
  7. Once the tomatoes are cooked whizz them up in a blender adding all the juices and olive oil from the cooking dish. I leave in the skins on as they are full of healthy lycopene and flavour. Add the half of the cooked onions, garlic, celery, mushroom mixture that you reserved, into the blender and give a good whizz. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  8. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and warm thoroughly whilst cooking the appropriate amount of pasta as per their instructions in seasoned boiling water. I always add a little drop of olive oil too.
  9. Steam the greens. 
  10. Drain the pasta and mix into the sauce/meat ball mixture being careful not to break up the meatballs.
  11. Serve while steaming hot into big bowls and then top with the greens...scrumptious. You may like to add a little grated parmesan cheese. But I don't think it needs it if the seasoning is correct. 
As long as you don't over-cook the meatballs they will be delicious and moist because of the caramelised onions and celery that add moisture without fat. I love the combination of sage with the turkey...a little promise of christmas dinner to come. A lovely bowl-full of easy to eat, comfort food, that you could even sneak a few extra vegetables like grated carrots into for fussy eaters. 

joining with heather...coming?

Monday, 22 September 2014

weekend :: food and new friends...Abergavenny food festival...

...another runaway invitation to cross the border and explore a new location...arriving early before the madness, to try some amazing arabic food and fig ice cream, discover an awesome art shop and even spot this cool foodie (that I have a bit of a secret crush on) chatting merrily next to me, a head above everyone else...

in his words..."love and elderflowers"...