Friday, May 24, 2013

In which courgette hamburgers go pear-shaped, or rather shapeless

                                          This tasted better than it looked...

I fail  meatballs, it seems.I remember once I attempted to make some with bread crumbs and ground beef, and the result wasn't pretty. I wanted to try this recipe because I often eat chicken burgers (as in, those you buy already made) and I liked the courgette combination. But something didn't quite go well in the meatball-making process, as is obvious from the photo.  Possibly the usual reducing-proportion issue? Or that I was in a hurry and was running around the kitchen like those cuisine programmes where people have to make a 3-course meal in 30 seconds, or something? Anyway, here goes:

- This recipe goes with a sauce which, as can be easily inferred, shows that this is a Jerusalem cookbook and not a Jewish one, and I understand that Arabs often use dairy-based sauces for meat:

Mix in a small bowl 100 grs sour cream, 1 cup Greek yogurt (but I used some nice one from the Swiss countryside), a teaspoon of crushed garlic, lemon juice, salt pepper. You're also supposed to put sumac in it. Now, Yotam and Samimi, I thought I'd gotten by now all the spices I needed, what the heck is sumac? Needless to say, I went sans sumac. Put in the fridge.

For the meatballs, mix in a large bowl the minced turkey, 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, cumin, one egg, salt, crushed mint, pepper, 3 roughly grated mini-courgettes. Mix and make into meatballs. Here, I had the impression there wasn't enough meat in proportion to the other ingredients. Maybe the mistake was that, after putting 2 mini courgettes, I went "There's no such thing as too much courgette! Plus it's green and colourful!" thus producing an excess of courgettitude.

Afterwards, you're supposed to fry the meatballs in heated sunflower oil. I never pre-heat oil, I think it's healthier and reduces the risk of hot oil going all over the place...But this is where my already poor-looking meatballs began to undo themselves. I was tempted to transform the whole thing in a kind of chili, but still went through the rest of the recipe, putting the meatballs in the oven at 200 C for 7 minutes. This is when they lost all semblance of meatballness. However, it actually tasted good! The sauce was nice too, but then I'm a sucker for anything containing sour cream. And I wouldn't advice making this dish for a romantic dinner, since it's a bit garlic-heavy. Either that, or remove the garlic.

So there's definitely room for improvement in this recipe, as in, I basically need to improve my meatball-making skills. Because right now, I couldn't have really brought the dish to a picnic or as lunch to work, as Mssrs Ottolenghi&Tamimi suggest (they say it's "portable").

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