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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Recipe - Smoky Chipotle Meatballs

I've recently been very busy with Gerry's Kitchen as I caught up on all of the '5 Questions' posts that I had to write on the back of my visit to The Scottish Speciality Food Show. Now that my desk is clear again, I was able to read through the three most recent copies of Olive Magazine that had been gathering dust on the coffee table.

Whilst reading through the March edition, I spotted a recipe that I knew that I had to try out. I love quick and easy recipes, especially on weekday night after work, so the chipotle meatball dish fitted the bill perfectly.

Chipotle comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli, which means Smoked Chili. At the end of the JalepeƱo season, the over ripened red chillies are smoked for several days over wood until most of the fruits moisture is removed. The underlying heat in the prune like jalepeƱos blends wonderfully with the smoke from the wood, allowing a huge burst of heat and flavour to be added to a whole host of recipes.

With the growing popularity of Mexican food, I'm sure that we will we see more chipotle infused recipes popping up in the coming months.

Ingredients

  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1tbsp chipotle paste (I used Discovery)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Small bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 150g orzo
  • Soured cream

Method

  1. Mix the beef mince, half of the onion, half of coriander, and 1/2tbsp of the chipotle paste together until mixed thoroughly. Shape the mix into about 10 small meatballs.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a pea and fry the meatballs until browned all over then remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the chopped onion and the garlic to the pan, cooking until softened then add the remaining 1/2tbsp of the chipotle paste and cook for a further minute.
  4. Tip in the tinned tomatoes and chicken stock, simmering for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened before adding the meatballs back into the pan. Cook for a further 10 until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.

To serve, spoon the meatballs and sauce over the cooked orzo before scattering the sliced avocado, soured cream and remaining coriander. I also served some garlic ciabatta alongside but toasted pitta bread would have worked well too.

I cheated slightly and prepared the meatballs and sauce last night in order to save some time tonight but I could have easily served this up from scratch in about 30 minutes. Both Nicola and myself thoroughly enjoyed the smoky meatballs, the chipotle paste added a huge burst of smoky flavour with a satisfying slow chilli burn. The addition of the sliced avocado and soured cream helped cool everything down to a sensible level.
This dish ticked all of the boxes for a midweek dinner - quick, easy, and fantastically tasty. I will definitely be making this dish again as well as thinking of other uses for the remainder of my chipotle paste.

 

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