Recipe: Meatballs with Sweetcorn and Polenta in Red Pepper Sauce
100g sweetcorn kernels
FOR THE MEATBALLS
3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed
500g minced beef
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
FOR THE ROASTED PEPPER SAUCE
4 red peppers, deseeded and quartered
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
A handful of fresh coriander, both leaves and stalks chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small mild chilli, deseeded
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
FOR THE POLENTA
3 cups of boiling chicken or vegetable stock, adding additional liquid as needed
1 tsp salt
1 cup polenta
Olive oil for grilling
1 lime, sliced (optional)
1 Begin by preparing the polenta. Bring the 3 cups of stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt and slowly whisk in the polenta, pouring the polenta in a shower to prevent clumping. Reduce to low, cover and cook until the water has absorbed, about 45 minutes, stirring frequently. The polenta should be soft and creamy, pulling away from the bottom. If the polenta appears to cook too fast or less creamy, add in small amounts of hot water or stock. Set aside.
2 Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the quartered peppers 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.
3 Transfer the hot peppers to a bowl and cover with clingfilm.
4 Once they have cooled down enough to handle, peel them and place them in a blender or food processor with their roasting juices and add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Process until smooth. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Set aside.
5 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 to 3 minutes, until lightly blackened. Remove and allow to cool.
6 Soak the bread in cold water for a minute, then squeeze well and crumble into a large bowl.
7 Add the rest of the ingredients except the sunflower oil and mix well with your hands
8 Pour about ½ cm depth of sunflower oil into the heavy frying pan, set over a medium–high heat. Once hot, fry about a teaspoon of the mince mix in it. Remove, allow to cool a little and then taste. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper in the uncooked mixture to your liking.
9 With wet hands, shape the mince mix into balls, about the size of golf balls.
10 Preheat the oven to 200C.
11 Cook the meatballs 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 and cook for about 5 minutes (to check if they’re done, press them and see if they bounce back – if not, cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
12 Heat a clean grill or indoor grill pan, lightly brushing with oil. Remove the polenta from the pan. Cut the polenta into diamonds or desired shapes and lightly brush with oil to prevent sticking. Grill until light marks appear, turn and grill the other side.
13 Place the meatballs on a plate. Scatter with the sweetcorn on top and add a generous amount of the red pepper sauce. Serve with a few polenta diamonds.