A book worm and foodie, studying English Literature at the University of Glasgow, writing about food, books and travel while aspiring to be a writer.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Greek meatballs with roasted red pepper couscous.

Yesterday was spent recovering from the master that is Jackmaster at SubClub the night before.

When I am a tad hungover, I always need to eat something hearty in the evening and to save myself being lazy and just having pasta with tomato sauce, I got the mince out of the freezer and decided to make meatballs.

I realise I haven't posted a vegetarian dish in a while now - although the feta macaroni I posted recently is just as good without the chorizo - so I will make sure to include one soon. I've never attempted to make meatballs with quorn mince, but if anyone knows if it is do-able or not I'd love to know!

These meatballs aren't the kind you get from Ikea or have on top of spaghetti; think Greek. In a rich tomato sauce these are served with couscous and are actually best made with lamb mince, although I have made them twice with beef now and they are still delicious. The recipe is an adaptation of one from a student cookbook my boyfriend has, so it's not overly expensive to prepare.

Ingredients - To serve four, or two with lots left in the fridge

  • 500g beef or lamb mince
  • 1 red onion, finely diced 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 and a 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a generous pinch of hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 and a 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper to season
  • couscous to serve
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
I know the ingredients list looks a bit weighty, however a lot of it is made up of spices which only need to be bought once and then can be used in a huge variety of meals. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas mark 6. Then place the mince, half of the onion and half of the garlic, the cinnamon, cumin, chilli powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl and combine with your hands until all the spices and onion are evenly mixed through. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on the hob, and then pinch off golf ball-size pieces of mince, shape them into balls and place into the pan. You want to fry them for around 10 to 15 minutes until they are well browned all over. Then, remove them from the pan and set aside. 
  3. To the empty meatball pan add the rest of the onion and garlic, and fry for a couple minutes until softened.
  4. To the onions add your chopped tomatoes, stock, tomato puree, stir, cover and allow to bubble away for ten minutes. 
  5. In the meantime place your chopped pepper in a small roasting tray and coat with a drizzle of olive oil. If you want you can add another onion or some courgette at this point. 
  6. Place the meatballs and the tomato sauce in a large ovenproof baking dish and cover with foil. Place the dish in the oven, as well as your pepper/vegetables and bake both for half an hour. 
  7. Just before the half hour is up, cook your couscous to the packets instructions. Then, when the peppers are done, stir through the couscous and serve the meatballs on a bed of it, topped off with a dollop of Greek yogurt or tsatsiki. 
Done, we had ours with some amazing little Greek cheese stuffed chillis you can buy in Lidl. This dish is one of my boyfriends favourites, and if you have a love of Greek food I would definitely recommend trying it! 

Tonight we went to Zizi's for dinner; Tesco clubcard points are wonderful things that you can transform into free food. It's not very exciting to review a food chain - it's a chain for a reason - but I had the lovely penne ala cassa (I think?) which was roasted chicken, spinach, and parma ham in a creamy mushroom sauce - yum. 

Out again tonight for my last night in Glasgow before I head up north. We're going to see Cashmere Cat and The Blessings at Broadcast and any music fans out there are very much advised to check them both out!

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