A summery take on this genre, with this chicken meatballs recipe sitting within lightly braised courgettes and spring onions, and plenty of greenery to lift it. Once again, yogurt comes to the rescue to provide a note of luxury, blended with tahini.
– 700g skinless free-range chicken thighs
– 4 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
– 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
– sea salt, black pepper
– 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 50g tahini paste
– 50g low-fat Greek yogurt
– 2 tbsp lemon juice
– 2–3 tbsp water
– 750g courgettes, ends trimmed, halved lengthways and thickly sliced
– 250g spring onions (about 2 bunches), trimmed and cut into thirds
– 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
– 70ml white wine
– 2 tbsp water or stock
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– 10g dill, coarsely chopped, plus extra to serve
– 10g mint, coarsely chopped, plus extra to serve
1. Cut the chicken thighs into chunks and whizz to a pulp in a food processor. Transfer this to a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients for the meatballs, including a tablespoon of the oil.
2. Shape the mixture into balls the size of a large walnut between your palms. Set aside on a couple of plates, cover and chill until required.
3. In the meantime, blend the tahini and yogurt in a small bowl, then work in the lemon juice, and enough water to achieve a thick drizzling consistency, and season with a little salt. The sauce can be made well in advance, in which case cover and chill until required.*
4. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan and colour the meatballs in batches.
5. At the same time, heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large cast-iron casserole over a high heat and fry about one-third of the courgettes and spring onions for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they start to colour.
6. Transfer them to a bowl and cook the remaining vegetables in the same way, adding more oil to the pan with each batch, and adding the garlic about a minute before the very end.
7. Turn the heat down low, return all the vegetables to the pan and season them. Mix in the meatballs and pour over the wine and water or stock, which should come to the boil instantly, then cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
8. Stir in the lemon juice and the herbs. Serve with the tahini cream and some more herbs scattered over.
*If making the tahini cream in advance, you may need to add a drop more water to loosen it.
Annie Bell recently completed a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition. In The Modern Dairy, she sets out to overturn the myths and misconceptions surrounding dairy with over 100 innovative recipes that maximise the best ways to consume dairy, to derive all the goodness it has to offer without the pitfalls. anniebell.net
The Modern Dairy by Annie Bell is published by Kyle Books. Photography by Con Poulos.