Recipes from Neil Perry's Simply Good Food

Neil Perry's meatballs in chipotle sauce, from <i>Simply Good Food</i>.
Neil Perry's meatballs in chipotle sauce, from Simply Good FoodPhoto: Murdoch Books

Meatballs in chipotle sauce

Love these, look Italian, could only be Mexican when you taste them. The chipotle in adobo sauce is awesome to have around the kitchen. Add to any sauce for a fantastic smoky lift and I love them chopped through a vinaigrette for a salad. Serve these with tortillas for a fresh taco or serve them with rice or potatoes for a hearty tasty meal. If you really want to have a fab lunch, make a sandwich out of them. So damn good!

Makes about 18 meatballs

300g minced beef

300g minced pork

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

60g (1 cup) fresh breadcrumbs

2 large eggs, organic, if possible

1 tablespoon milk

extra virgin olive oil

Manchego or pecorino cheese, to serve

For sauce

4 ripe tomatoes

6 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce (see note)

2 garlic cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

250ml (1 cup) chicken stock

For the chipotle sauce, place the tomatoes, chillies and their sauce, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt in a blender. Add the stock and process until quite smooth.

For the meatballs, place the beef, pork, cumin, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and a grind of pepper in a bowl. Mix well, then stir in the breadcrumbs, eggs and milk. To check the seasoning, cook a small amount of mixture and taste it. Form the mince mixture into small walnut-sized balls.

Heat a large frying pan with a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown gently for 2 minutes. Add the sauce and cook gently for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until

the sauce starts to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium–low and cook, uncovered, until the sauce reduces to about half its original volume and coats the meatballs.

To serve, spoon the meatballs onto a serving plate and grate a little Manchego or pecorino over the top.

NOTE: Chipotle chillies are red jalapenos that have been smoked and dried. Adobo sauce is typically flavoured with spices such as paprika, bay leaves and oregano. The two are available together in tins at selected delis and Mexican food suppliers.


Green curry of prawns

I also use this curry as a base for a stir-fry. Just add the paste, palm sugar and fish sauce after stir-frying your meat or fish and you have an amazingly flavoured dish.

Serves 4 (or 8 as part of an Asian banquet)

250ml coconut cream
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 kaffir lime leaves
80ml fish sauce
1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (jaggery)
500ml coconut milk
8 raw large king prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
4 wild green (bird’s eye) chillies, lightly crushed
3 fresh long red chillies, halved lengthways and seeded
10 Thai pea eggplants (aubergines)
5 apple eggplants (aubergines), quartered
12 sweet Thai basil leaves

For green curry paste
5 coriander seeds
5 cumin seeds
5 white peppercorns
6 wild green (bird’s eye) chillies, chopped
3 fresh long green chillies, seeded and chopped
2 lemongrass stems, pale part only, tough outer leaves removed, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh galangal
10 red Asian shallots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
3 coriander (cilantro) roots, scraped and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh turmeric
finely grated zest of 1 kaffir lime
1 teaspoon Thai shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and roasted until fragrant

For the green curry paste, lightly roast the coriander and cumin seeds and the peppercorns in a dry heavy-based frying pan, then grind to a powder in a coffee or spice grinder. Pound the chillies, lemongrass, galangal, shallots, garlic, coriander roots, turmeric, lime zest and shrimp paste in a mortar with a pestle.

Pass all the ground and pounded ingredients through a mincer twice, or use a blender to process until smooth, adding a little water or oil if necessary. You can also just keep pounding with the pestle to produce a fine paste.

Set aside 130g (about ½ cup) of paste for the curry. (Any leftover paste will freeze until next time.)

To make the curry, place the coconut cream and oil in a heavy-based frying pan over high heat and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
When the coconut cream splits (the oil and solids separate), add the curry paste. Crush the lime leaves in your hand, add them to the pan and fry for 10–15 minutes or until the mixture is sizzling and aromatic (use your nose).

Add the fish sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add the palm sugar and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add the prawns, chillies and eggplants and simmer gently for 4 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked and the pea and apple eggplants are still a little crunchy.

Stir in the basil just before serving.