Ottolenghi Turkey and Sweetcorn Meatballs with Roasted Pepper Sauce

Regularly stocking up on cookbooks can get a bit pricey, so I’ve started borrowing them from my local library, which harbours a superb selection.  I get a vicarious thrill out of lugging them home and leafing through, before post it noting the recipes I want to try before the dreaded due date  (never let it be said that I don’t like to live life on its absolute edge).

I notice that the Ottolenghi cook book sports significantly more coloured tassles than any of the others, saturated with inspiration and creativity as it is. The roasted butternut squash with burnt aubergine and pomegranate molasses makes a lovely supper not to mention a mighty fine packed lunch.  I also love these lightly spiced cumin and parsley flecked meatballs – using turkey definitely makes them taste a bit lighter.  The recipe calls for stale white bread, but I only had wholemeal which worked to great effect. The accompanying red pepper sauce was so good I could have  just eaten it on its own – it made an excellent dipping sauce for branches of garlic roasted broccoli the next day.

I can’t wait for the new Ottolenghi cookbook to come out; in fact – I might even break my borrowing habit and actually go out and buy the thing.

Turkey and sweetcorn meatballs

(from Ottolenghi “the cookbook”)

Serves 4

100g sweetcorn kernels (fresh or frozen)

3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed

500g minced free-range or organic turkey breast

1 free-range egg

4 spring onions, finely chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

2  ½ tsp ground cumin

1 ½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

Sunflower oil, for frying

Roasted pepper sauce

4 red peppers

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

25g coriander, leaves and stalks

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 small mild chilli, deseeded

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar


1)      Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. To prepare the peppers for the sauce, quarter them with a sharp knife and shave off the white parts and the seeds. Put them in a roasting tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt, then roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until soft. Transfer the hot peppers to a bowl and cover it with cling film. Once they have cooled down a little, you can peel them, although it isn’t essential for this sauce. In any case, place them in a blender or food processor with their roasting juices and add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Process until smooth, then taste and adjust the salt if necessary. Set aside.

2)      For the meatballs, place a heavy non-stick frying pan over a high heat and throw in the corn kernels. Toss them in the hot pan for 2-3 minutes, until lightly blackened. Remove and leave to cool.

3)      Soak the bread in cold water for a minute, then squeeze well and crumble it into a large bowl. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the sunflower oil and mix well with your hands.

4)      Pour a 5mm depth of sunflower oil into your heavy frying pan. Allow it to heat up well and then fry about a teaspoon of the mince mix in it. Remove, let cool a little and then taste. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper in the uncooked mixture to your liking.

5)      With wet hands, shape the mince mix into balls, about the size of golf balls. Cook them in small batches in the hot oil, turning them around in the pan until they are golden brown all over. Transfer to an oven tray, place in the oven at 200C/Gas mark 6 and cook for about 5 minutes. When you press one with your finger, the meat should bounce back. If unsure, break one open to check that it is cooked inside. Serve hot or warm, with the pepper sauce on the side.


  1. Dan

    Rej, Love, Love, Love this Ottolenghi recipe. I’ve cooked this so many times and it’s bloody superb. Great addition for buffet type food as well.

  2. Oooh, I was flicking through my copy of Ottolenghi the other and this was precisely the recipe I wanted to try next. Glad to hear I was right! Will have to get onto it straight away!
    I’ve been getting into getting cook books from the library too, though I find it annoying that I have to try to keep them clean – quite difficult for messy cooks like me! 😀

  3. Mmm they look good, I’ve not had chance to study my Ottolenghi book thoroughly yet and have only done the chocolate macarons. I did recently manage to eat in there for the first time though!

    I use my library too but end up forgetting to renew and fines build up that cost more than buying them on Amazon. Ho hum…!

  4. The Ottolenghi cookery book is one of my favourites – I LOVE their roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt sauce and the oxtail and pumpkin stew recipes. Try and photocopy those before returning the book. I can’t wait for the new book to come out! Lovely write up as always Rej.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  5. Your library has the Ottolenghi cookbook? That’s it, I’m moving boroughs.

  6. I do the library thing too! I borrow the books, then hang around at work until everyone leaves so I can photocopy the pages I want to keep!

    Will have to check if my local has Ottolenghi though!

  7. I’d be wary getting a fix of food porn from the shelves of the local library if I were you.

    Especially the Ottolenghi Cookbook, phwoooor…..

    Tell me, how many pages were stuck together?

  8. Gastrogeek, we love this book but haven’t tried this one yet – the recipe looks fabulous. Hope you don’t get a fine – this book will be hard to take back to the library on time!

  9. I am licking some burnt-aubergine and pom molasses sauce off my lips literally as I write this. I am addicted to it. I’ve got these post it noted as well! I don’t know why I never thought to borrow cook books from the library but I certainly will from now on!

  10. a friend from London was visiting this w/e and i JUST came to know of this amazing dish from ottolenghi she was going on and on about it cant believe you posted the recipe- YAY! x shayma

  11. I love the Ottolenghi book! The butternut squash and aubergine thing is one of my favourite recipes ever and I loved these meatballs too. I’m sure I’ve made at least half of the things in the book and yet it’s still covered with post-it notes.

  12. gastrogeek

    Dan – Ooh that’s a great idea, I do like a nice buffet.
    Nora- that’s a very good point. It’s interesting to see the most popular recipes from all the smears!
    SMC -Oh don’t, do you know I had an £11 fine the other day? £11!! Outrageous.
    Luiz- Thanks, I’ve not tried the oxtail stew, that sounds like a good un.
    Salty – Thanks! It’s got a great line in DVDs too, I’ve heard the one in Charing X has a great selection too…
    LexEat – it’s so much cheaper isn’t it? And my bookshelves are a bit less buckly!
    FU – ummm most of them….(Danny!!! you’re worse than that MiMi)
    BSG – cheers!I have just re-re-renewed it.
    Helen- it’s a lot cheaper, but sometimes you do have to hassle them to get the latest ones in.
    Shayma -thanks S. Great minds and all that ;)Let me know how yours turn out!
    OxfordFood – thank you, that recipe is a winner isnt’ it?

  13. I am so intrigued now by this cookbook I am gonna get it somehow somewhere
    Love Turkish food, we cook a lot of Turkish-inspired dishes in Lebanon and all the Levant learned a lot from our former masters!

  14. gastrogeek

    it’s a winner. I love Turkish food so very, very much…

  15. Pingback: Nora the Kitchen 'Splorer: Summer return | Too Much News

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