Spicy Chicken Balls

Spicy Chicken Balls

If you are looking for something new, this recipe with minced chicken could easily become your next favorite. It works equally well as a main course with salad and potatoes, and as a delightful party snack. The chickpeas add taste and consistency, and the hot and spicy condiment, sambal oelek, brings added value. Chicken is actually the most common type of poultry in the world, and as a very versatile food it can be grilled, baked, roasted, deep-fried, breaded, skewered, or made into sausages. Chicken consumption rose during World War II due to a shortage of beef and pork, and it rose again in the 1990’s because of consumer awareness of risks associated with beef. When it comes to the nutritional value, the meat itself contains very little fat, because the fat is concentrated on the skin. When measured as weight percentage, chicken meat contains about two to three times as much polyunsaturated fat than most types of red meat.

Ingredients: 

400 g/ 14 oz chicken mince

1 can pre-cooked chickpeas

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp paprika powder

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp tomato puree

1-2 tsp sambal oelek chili paste

1 egg

Instructions: 

Rinse and drain the chickpeas, and puree them together with the minced chicken in a blender or a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens. Add the paprika powder and season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture cool down.

Add the sauteed onion and garlic into the chicken and chickpea mix and puree until the mixture is smooth. Combine with the pureed tomato and the sambal oelek paste. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Roll the mixture into balls (diameter 1.5 inch/ca. 4 cm). Fry the balls in a saucepan over a medium heat on all sides for about 5 minutes until they are golden. Turn occasionally. Remove all excess oil by placing them over a paper towel. Serve immediately with a refreshing salad and/or potatoes.

Spicy Chicken Balls

Advertisements

Risotto all’affumicata

Risotto all'affumicata

The full and delicious taste of this risotto will undoubtedly warm your heart and soul. In this recipe the smoked pancetta is combined with another smoked item, Provola affumicata cheese from Southern Italy’s Campania region. Smoking is actually a process to preserve, flavor and cook food by exposing it to smoke from wood or other burning or smouldering materials. Different types of meat, like pancetta, and fish are the most common smoked foods, although cheese and vegetables can be smoked, too. Smokehouse temperatures for cold smoking are typically between 20-30 C/68-86 F. Cold smoking can be simply used as a flavor enhancer because the food is smoked just long enough to give it some flavor, and the foods are still cooked, either by baking, grilling, roasting, or sautéing, before eating.

Ingredients:

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

100 gr/ 3.5 oz smoked pancetta, in cubes

2.5 dl/ 1 cup risotto rice

1 liter/ 4 cups vegetable stock

80 gr/ 3 oz smoked Provola affumicata cheese, thinly sliced

250 gr/ 9 oz champignon mushrooms, sliced

salt and peper to taste

Risotto all'affumicata

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Saute the smoked pancetta, onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens and becomes golden. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some vegetable stock into the pan. Keep stirring. After about 15 minutes the risotto rice is cooked al dente. Add the sliced smoked cheese and mix well.

Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms lightly in a pan until they release their juices. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the risotto rice without cooking it any further with the mushrooms. Serve each plate immediately with a pinch of ground black pepper.

Salmorejo

Salmorejo

Are you searching for a good, refreshing dish? Look no further! Salmorejo, a.k.a. ardoria or porra, is a thick Spanish tomato soup consisting of tomato, bread, garlic, and olive oil. The tomatoes are pureed in a mixer together with the other ingredients, and the end result is served very cold – sometimes even with ice! – with hard-boiled eggs and slices of Serrano ham. Originating from Cordoba in southern Spain, the very tasty salmorejo is similar to the well known gazpacho, but it is thicker and creamier in texture. The hard-boiled eggs add something to chew, and the thin slices of the Serrano ham crown the taste. This is the dish for hot summer evenings, and it doesn’t even require any cooking.

Ingredients: 

3 cans of peeled tomatoes

200 gr/ 7 oz (stale) bread

2 garlic cloves, minced

2.5 dl/ 1 cup water

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 boiled eggs

slices of Serrano ham

Salmorejo

Instructions

Remove the crusts, and cut the bread into slices. Soak in cold water for 15-20 minutes. Once heavy with water, remove a little bread at a time and squeeze out excess water with your hands. Then break the slices apart into small, dry crumbs.

Puree the peeled tomatoes, soaked bread, and the minced garlic in a mixer or a blender. Drizzle some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix very well and refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours. The end result should be creamy smooth and dense.

Meanwhile, place the eggs in a pot and cover them with water. Slowly bring water to a boil over medium heat. After about 12 minutes, take the eggs out, and place them under cool running water to stop the cooking. Peel them and cut them into two equal halves. Garnish the soup with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper, and serve it very cold with a halved egg and slices of Serrano ham.

Risotto all’ortolana

Risotto is essentially a peasant dish and, as such, it is one of the world’s most satisfying comfort foods. But because it absorbs many tastes and flavors, risotto can be served as a very refined and sophisticated dish, too. This hearty and peasantlike version showcases the rural, and very healthy, side. The abundance of the beans, peas, and other vegetables make it very rich in folate, iron, manganese and dietary fiber – all nutrients that can benefit your health in a variety of ways. After spending some time with the knife work you will have a dish that is at the same time fresh, creamy and light. The ingredients can be easily substituted with other vegetables, depending on what is in season and readily available. But don’t forget to try the creamy and buttery fava bean, it will add its own special taste and texture to the mix.

Risotto all' ortolanaIngredients:

300 gr/ 10 oz fava a.k.a. broad beans

260 gr/ 9 oz  fresh tomatoes, sliced

100 gr/ 3.5 oz frozen peas

3 dl/ 1 1/3 cups risotto rice (Carnaroli)

olive oil

2 stalks of celery, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

1 zucchine, sliced

1 onion, sliced

fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 liter / 4 1/3 cups vegetable stock

140 gr/ 5 oz smoked pancetta, in cubes (optional)

freshly grated parmigiano

a couple of fresh basil leaves

Instructions: 

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion, celery and carrots until the vegetables soften a bit. Add the cubed pancetta and continue frying for a few minutes.

Add the tomatoes, fava beans and the zucchini and keep cooking for about 10 minutes. Then, add the frozen peas with some fresh parsley and cook for further 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some vegetable stock and keep stirring. For Carnaroli rice it takes about 15 minutes to be al dente. Serve each plate with a couple of spoonfuls of parmigiano and fresh flat leaf parsley. Garnish with some basil leaves.

Risotto all' ortolana

Polpette di merluzzo

Polpette di merluzzo

Cod, which is mainly consumed in Portugal, Italy, Spain and Brazil, has been an important economic commodity in international markets since the Viking period (around 800 AD). Norwegians traveled with dried cod and soon a dried cod market developed in southern Europe, and this market has lasted for more than 1,000 years. Apart from the long history, cod differ from most fish because the fishing grounds are far from population centers. Since the introduction of salt, dried and salted cod, baccalà in Italian, has also been exported. The Portuguese began fishing cod in the 15th century, and in the 17th and 18th centuries in the New World cod became a major commodity, creating trade networks and cross-cultural exchanges. Cod is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B, potassium, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Ingredients: 

500 gr / 17 2/3 oz fresh cod, sliced

50 gr / 1 2/3 oz breadcrumbs

salt and pepper to taste

fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2-4 garlic cloves, minced

60 gr / 2 oz parmigiano reggiano

2 eggs

Instructions: 

Prepare the fish balls by mixing the sliced cod fillets in a blender until smooth. Combine the minced cod with the bread crumbs, parmigiano, minced garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. At the end, add the eggs and mix thoroughly.

Roll the mixture into balls (diameter 1.5 inch/ca. 4 cm). Set the balls into a lightly oiled baking dish and bake in the oven, preheated to 180C/355F, for 20 minutes or until the surface has browned. Turn them from time to time. Serve the fish balls with a salad of your choice.

Polpette di merluzzo

Mezze maniche con ceci e pancetta

Mezze maniche con ceci e pancetta

Chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzos, have played a notable part in the Italian kitchen for hundreds of years. They are of Oriental origin and due to the fact that they require high temperatures during summer months, they are mainly grown in Southern Italy. When you use them in cooking, it is best to buy them canned. The commercial canning process doesn’t harm the flavor or diminish the nutritional value. You can also buy dry chickpeas and soak them yourself. In this case, make sure the chickpeas haven’t passed their use-by date, because the old ones won’t soften no matter how long they soak. Most chickpea recipes are actually winter recipes that require long cooking times. These dishes were ideal in the olden times when a pot simmering on a wood-fired stove kept the entire kitchen warm. If you are a true fan, also try Ligurian polenta-like panissa; or minestrone di ceci which is a creamy, hearty chickpea soup from the Abruzzo; or stewed chickpeas like in ceci in umido. Don’t forget about ceci alla pisana a.k.a. chick peas with greens and anchovies from Pisa, or cavezune which is ravioli from the Gargano peninsula made with a chocolaty chickpea filling.

Ingredients:

1 onion, sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

2-4 dry chilies, deseeded and finely chopped

olive oil

200 gr/ 7 oz smoked pancetta, in cubes (optional)

500 gr/ 17 oz passata di pomodoro

350 gr/ 12 1/3 oz chickpeas

1 l/ 4 1/3 cups vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

fresh flat leaf parsley

mezze maniche pasta

Mezze maniche con ceci e pancetta

Instructions:

Puree the onion, garlic and chili in a blender until smooth. Heat olive oil in a pan and fry this smooth mix for a couple of minutes. Add the pancetta and continue for another 3 or 4 minutes.

Add the passata di pomodoro and cook for another 5 minutes on a medium heat. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas and cook still for further 5 minutes.

Like when cooking risotto, add some vegetable broth at a time letting the sauce simmer down and thicken for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with boiling salted water. Drain the pasta and mix it with the ready sauce. Garnish each plate with some fresh flat leaf parsley. Serve immediately.

Pasta con verdure grigliate

Pasta con verdure grigliate

As a favorite with gourmet cooks, sea salt has risen to high status. Although there is little or no health benefit to using sea salt over regular table salt, as both are primarily sodium chloride, many believe that sea salt has better texture and tastes better than the salt from the salt mines. Sweating with sea salt helps to draw out moisture from the vegetables and enhances their natural flavor. It will purge for example eggplant of its bitterness, and it will also prevent it from absorbing excess fluids or oil. Sea salt is produced by evaporating seawater and harvesting the salt that remains. Because the production method is more expensive than mining the salt deposits left by salt lakes, the price tag associated with this type of salt is also heftier. You can also try boutique sea salts, like pinkish gray salt from Korea and France, or Indian black salt.

Ingredients: 

1 eggplant, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

coarse sea salt

olive oil

2-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

4 tomatoes, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

penne or penne rigate pasta

Pasta con verdure grigliate

Instructions:

Slice the eggplant and the zucchini and sprinkle coarse sea salt on them. Set the slices aside for 30-60 minutes. Shake the sea salt off and slice the pieces into smaller cubes.

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the minced garlic and the bell peppers together with the tomatoes for a few minutes until the vegetables soften. Add the eggplant and the zucchini and continue frying for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain and mix with the vegetables. Garnish each plate with Pecorino Romano and fresh flat leaf parsley.