It took ages to work out what to say about this recipe. It’s not that it wasn’t very nice, I just don’t think I did it right.
Lamb Meatballs, Chop Salad & Harissa Yoghurt is from Jamie’s 15 minute meals, by Jamie Oliver. I bought this book in the spring after seeing 10 minutes of one program which made me think it looked a good idea for work day dinners.
I would have chosen to make a different meal, but I was limited in the recipes I could choose. The reason for this is simple, the recipes are achievable in 15 minutes because all the ingredients have to be blitzed in one of the many different types of mixer/blender/tazer/microwave/Cern Collider that I just don’t own.
To make this recipe to serve four you will need: 400g lamb mince, garam masala, olive oil, pinch saffron, 1 fresh red chilli, 2 spring onions, half bunch coriander, 2 cloves garlic, 400g tin chickpeas, 350g passata, half cucumber, 2 little gem lettuces, bunch radishes, 2 tomatoes, 1 lemon, 1 heaped tsp harissa, 4 heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt, 8 wholemeal tortillas and an orange.
I am going to start by slightly deviating from the recipe, because with the benefit of hindsight I know that when I got this wrong it was the defining moment that this recipe went wrong. Start off by putting the pinch of saffron into a cup, and just cover it with boiling water. (Don’t fill the cup like I did, making some sort of weird saffron-y tea which took forever to boil down)
Put a frying pan on a medium heat. In a bowl mix the mince with salt, pepper and a heaped teaspoon of garam masala. Wet your hands and divide this mixture into four and roll each half into four balls. Put them into the frying pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
To make the sauce finely slice the chilli, spring onions and coriander stalks – if you’re a slow chopper like me do this before you start doing the meatballs – put them in a pan with a table spoon of olive oil, and crush in a peeled clove of garlic (if you don’t have a garlic crusher, panic at this point and chop a clove up as quickly and finely as you can) fry for 40 seconds and add the saffron with the water, the passata and the drained chickpeas (make sure you drain them before you start rather than fling chickpeas all around the kitchen). Cover and bring to the boil.
In a small dish swirl the harissa through the yoghurt. Roughly chop the salad, lob it on a plate (or a serving board, if you have one – I don’t) and drizzle it with olive oil and lemon juice. Microwave your tortillas. If like me you don’t have a microwave it will say how to warm them in the oven on the packet)
If the sauce has stuck (mine didn’t) loosen it with a bit of kettle water and pour it into the meatball pan, and serve with a scattering of coriander leaves and orange wedges (if you can be arsed).
When I made this – as I mentioned above – my main problem was that the sauce took forever to boil down and was a bit too like soup to have in a tortilla… with hindsight I can say that it was because I put too much water in with the saffron.
I thought I’d make the sauce and meatballs for 4 as per the recipe, and then freeze 8 balls and half the sauce, but we were still really hungry after we’d had half – so we ended up eating it all. The sauce was really tasty and I will make it again, but first I need to sit and stare at the recipe and think how I could better serve it up – maybe more lamb and some sort of couscous/bulgar wheat?
When I work it out, I’ll report back!
Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)