turkey and corn meatballs with spicy roasted red pepper sauce

A little over a year ago, when I was living in London, I began my love affair with the recipes of Yotam Ottolenghi.  My dear friend Tara and I went to his Islington restaurant to celebrate her birthday and we both were hooked!  (When Tara was in London in March for less than a week long visit, she went to the restaurant twice, SO jealous!)  I immediately went home and bought both his cookbooks.  Since then, I have made my own renditions of about one third of the recipes published in Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Plenty.  In coming posts you will undoubtedly hear much more about Ottolenghi, since I seem to be cooking my way through both these books.

Tonight, I had some left over corn on the cob so I decided to make these delicious turkey and corn meatballs with a spicy roasted red pepper sauce.  These meatballs can be made with fresh uncooked corn or leftovers, and make a great main course or appetizer.  The sauce is quite spicy on its own, but in combination with the meatballs, the spice is cut nicely by the poultry and makes for an excellent combination of flavors.

Turkey and corn meatballs with spicy roasted red pepper sauce

Adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi
 
Meatballs:
3 to 4 ears of corn, kernels cut off (can used fresh or frozen, cooked or uncooked)
3 slices of stale bread (number of slices dependent on size)
20 ounces of ground turkey 
2 eggs
4 to 6 scallions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 1/2 Tablespoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
olive oil for frying
 
Roasted red pepper sauce:
3 red peppers
olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons cilantro (use parsley if cilantro is distasteful)
2 cloves garlic
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon spicy chili sause (optional, to taste)
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
 

For sauce:

  1. Slice red peppers in half and deseed, then spray or brush with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Grill peppers for 3 to 5 minutes per side over medium-high heat, or until slightly charred and softened. (They can also be roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes)
  3. Remove peppers from grill, place in a bowl and cover with foil.  Once they have cooled enough to handle, remove the heavily charred bits of skin.
  4. Put peppers, cilantro, garlic, jalapeños, chili sauce, vinegar, and any roasting juices in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

For Meatballs:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a cast iron frying pan over high heat toss the corn kernels until they begin to blacken, 2 to 4 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Soak the bread in cold water for about a minute, then squeeze out the excess water and crumble the softened bread into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the blackened kernels to the bowl with ground turkey and the rest of the meatball ingredients, minus the oil, and mix well with your hands.
  5. Over medium-high heat, heat enough oil in the cast iron fry pan so that the full bottom of the pan is throughly coated.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, or damp hands, form the turkey mixture into golf ball size balls.  Once the pan is well heated, so that it sizzles when a bit of water is flicked onto it, add the balls to the pan in batches, turning carefully with tongs or a spoon so that they brown evenly on all sides.
  7. Transfer the golden brown meatballs to an oven proof dish and cook in the oven for 5 minutes, or until cooked through.  Severe warm with the spicy roasted red pepper sauce.
Makes about 2 dozen meatballs.
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