Monday, 15 October 2007

Cheat's Greekish meatballs.

I had a craving when I got in from my mad weekend yesterday evening. I wanted meat, probably because I have a cold and that's the kind of thing my body does when it's ill. The following is based on something I had an actual recipe for once, but I've no idea where it went. Anyway - that one was a bit fiddlier.

Prep time: about 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 40 minutes, but you can leave it alone once you're sure it's at the right temperature.


Per person:
3 good quality sausages
Half an aubergine
1 large or 2 smaller tomatoes
Half a clove of garlic
Olive oil

You will also need a pan, ideally non-stick, big enough to fit all the meatballs in a single layer. Ideally, they should fit quite snugly, but it's not the end of the world if you haven't got a pan EXACTLY the right size. It does need a lid of some sort, even if the lid consists of a piece of foil and a tin plate.

  • Squeeze the sausagemeat out of the sausages. Rather yukky operation. Roll it into rough balls about the size of walnuts. There will probably be about 6. (The original recipe called for a mixture of lamb and possibly pork, with mint, I think - I don't entirely remember, and anyway it was more complicated. This works fine, and you don't have to faff with anything.)
  • Slice the aubergine quite thinly (no thicker than half centimetre pieces) and fry off the slices until they have a little bit of colour on them on both sides. Unless feeling extravagant, don't keep feeding them oil every time they soak up what's in the pan - they will quite happily have a whole bottle. Remove them from the pan when done - if you're making this for more than one person you'll have to do them in batches anyway.
  • While that's happening, slice the tomatoes to a similar thickness, and chop the garlic finely.
  • Oil your selected pan for cooking the meatballs lightly, then cover the bottom with the sliced tomatoes in a single layer, as fully as possible. Sprinkle over the garlic, and then place the balls of sausagemeat on top of the tomatoes and garlic. Put the aubergine slices on the top, overlapping them in scallop fashion to make an attractive lid.
  • Cover tightly with a lid or foil and a plate - the meatballs need to steam. Put the pan on the lowest heat you can manage for about 40 minutes. All the vegetables will release their juices and the meatballs will release their fat, and then that will steam the meat. When it's all evaporated and the tomatoes are forming a sticky dark layer at the bottom, the dish is done. Probably worth testing a meatball with a fork to check that it's changed colour all the way through.
  • Serve with boiled potatoes and a green vegetable - peas, for instance.

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