I wanted meatballs last Tuesday. But it was 40 degrees (Celsius, of course) and I was dying of heat. So I what I really wanted was fresh, summery meatballs. Something zingy, with yoghurt sauce.
This is what I made.
First, deal with the meatball mix. It needs to sit for all the flavours to blend and become one (for all and all for one).
Get your minced beef, chopped mint leaves, lemon zest, ground salt, pepper, ginger, fennel seed and cloves.
In a separate bowl, stir the breadcrumbs, milk and egg together.
Put the breadcrumb mix and the meat mix together and use your hands to make it one indistinguishable meatball blend. There can’t be any clumps of breadcrumbs. You have to use your hands. No other kitchen tool will work as well. Taste it for seasoning. Yes, I realise that there’s raw meat and a raw egg in there, but if all your ingredients are good quality and fresh, you have nothing to fear. If they’re not, you shouldn’t be eating them cooked, either.
Now let it sit, preferably in the fridge, so that the breadcrumbs become as tasty as the meat and you can’t tell the difference.
We can make the base for the yoghurt sauce.
Chop up the garlic, spring onion and flake some chilli peppers. The chilli peppers are absolutely optional.
Put a spoonful of olive oil in a non-stick pan and add all the above.
Sizzle until they’re completely cooked (soft, translucent) then add a tiny bit of white wine.
When the alcohol has evaporated, let this savoury base cool completely. Go watch an episode of New Girl. Wait. Wait some more. I’m guessing about one hour.
After that, retrieve your meat blend and start making tiny meatballs. Why tiny? Because they cook faster and are tastier.
In a non-stick pan (sure, it can be the same one that you used for the onions and garlic, but remember to take them out because they’re for the yoghurt sauce, not for the meatballs) put some oil and, if you really want to, some butter. I did.
I kept my heat on medium, so they wouldn’t burn. Cook and turn so that they’re completely seared on all sides for between 10 to 20 minutes. It all depends on how small you managed to make them. How do you know if they’re ready? Take one out, cut it in half and check. 😉
The garlic and onion base should be cold by now (right?). Put it in the blender with some lemon juice, mint leaves, salt and pepper.
Blend until smooth and silky.
And you’re done! I served these summer meatballs, when they had cooled slightly, with couscous, because couscous is perfect, even cool. And they were amazing.