I've been trying to expand the flavors I cook with, but being creative in the kitchen has been a challenge when you're basically cooking all day, everyday for nearly a month! In my previous posts I mentioned I've been doing Whole 30 and I'm just a few days away from completing it! I'm going to do a more comprehensive review of my experience later on, but I can confidently say it's been a successful month! The only real issue I've had is the sheer amount of cooking I've had to do to keep up with it. Though I love putting together more elaborate meals, it's difficult to do so when there's this much cooking involved. I have been able to find a few gems over the month though, and may have just discovered my new favorite recipe for meatballs!
The latest addition to my ever growing cookbook collection was a pair of Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbooks, Plenty and Jerusalem. I was lucky enough to to go to his restaurant Nopi in London a few years ago, and I wish I'd picked up his cookbooks sooner because they're fantastic! I've only cooked a couple recipes so far, but the flavors are widely different than what I usually work with, which immediately made these books invaluable.
I first made these meatballs [known as Kofta] for a party I was having, and accidentally left them in the oven for WAY longer than I'd intended [whoops]. They still tasted good, but I knew I had to make them again the right way. I didn't have any ground beef or lamb on hand this time, but I did have bison. I've cooked with bison so much more since my trip to Montana [where I was spoiled with incredible food!], and I thought I'd see how it fared with this recipe. I swapped out a couple ingredients and decreased the recipe size to make them more to my taste and family size, but for the most part, Ottolenghi's recipe is just about perfect! These are perfect for a holiday party, or for a quiet night at home, served up with your favorite vegetables. I reheated some sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and red onions I had from the day before and they were perfect with these!
BISON KOFTA [adapted from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem]
- 2 TB sunflower oil [or olive oil if you don't have sunflower] for frying
- 1lb ground bison
- 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 TB pine nuts, toasted chopped
- 3 TB flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 TB roasted red pepper, chopped [I use jarred roasted red pepper slices]
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 425F. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl using your hands to combine. Form into long, torpedo-like meatballs, about 3 inches long. Compress the meatballs to help them keep their shape [since there's no egg or breading in these like my usual meatballs, they don't have as much binding to keep them together, but trust me they'll cook up just fine!]. Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan over high heat and sear the kofta on all sides until golden brown, about six minutes. Make sure not to overcrowd them in the pan and cook in batches if need be. Arrange the kofta on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for an additional 3-4 minutes. Anymore than this, and the meatballs will begin to dry out [as per my first try at this recipe!], so make sure you keep an eye on them!
The bison version of these kofta were fantastic on their own, super tender and flavorful with no sauce necessary! But if you want to try the killer tahini sauce that goes along with these, check out this incredible cookbook!
If every meal I ever made for Whole 30 could taste this good, I'd eat Whole 30 forever! [and I just might...!] I can't wait to try more delicious recipes from Ottolenghi's books!