2 Jul 2012

unexpectedly delicious

I actually wasn't sure if this was going to work out as I haven't combined chopped herbs into meat before. And coriander? That garnish that I pick off my plate every time! Skeptical really. But I had a small glimmer of hope that it would work since Dad always tops his Vietnamese dishes with a variety of mint and coriander. A little surprise as the taste reminded us of bo nuong vi (Vietnamese lemongrass grilled beef) without the lemongrass and (strong) garlic kick. We have a huge packet of blitzed lemongrass and garlic in the freezer so we'll be trying that in the future. It'll be much less work than making the actual thing and in meatball form - how fun! 

The Asian meatball awaits.


Herbed meatballs & cous cous
inspired by John Torode's Moroccan lamb meatballs with harissa & cous cous
serves 4 - 6

Herbed meatballs
500g beef mince
2 Spanish onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped (reserve 4 Tb)
1 bunch of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped (reserve 1 - 2 Tb)
1 large egg
freshly ground black pepper, to season
sea salt, to season

Roasted capsicum paste
1 red capsicum, deseeded, stem and white bits removed
1 Spanish onion, halved at cut into four pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 Tb vegetable oil

Cous cous* (per person)
1/2 cup (100g) cous cous
1/2 vegetable stock cube
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 Tb chopped coriander
vegetable oil
small knob of unsalted butter

To serve (per person)
Greek yogurt
remainder of the chopped mint
roasted capsicum paste
lemon wedge

Meatballs - Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Shape 1 heaped tablespoon of mince into a ball, place on a plate and repeat with the remaining mince. Leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. Take the meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking. 

Roasted capsicum paste - Quarter the prepped capsicum and roast in the oven at 220 degrees for about 20 minutes or until skin is wrinkled and charred. Remove to cool and lower the temperature to 200 degrees to roast the onion and garlic with a drizzle of oil for 10 - 15 minutes. During half time, give it a stir. Meanwhile, peel the skins off the capsicum which should come off easily. When they are ready, puree with oil in a food processor**.

Cous cous -  Place the stock cube, 125ml water and a drizzle of oil in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and remove from heat. Pour in the cous cous and give it a stir. Cover and allow to stand for 3 minutes. Add a small knob of unsalted butter, parsley and coriander and fluff up with a fork to separate the grains.

To cook the meatballs, heat a frying pan and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of oil over a medium heat. Add a portion meatballs and cook turning until they are browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

To serve, place cous cous on a plate and top with meatballs. Stir mint into a couple of tablespoons of greek yogurt and spoon on top of the meatballs. Top with some roasted capsicum paste and any coriander you have left. Squeeze some lemon juice over. Bon appetit!   

*Adapted from San Remo's cous cous box
**With the small quantity, it may not be possible to puree it into a smooth paste, but it's ok