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Posts Tagged ‘Olia Hercules’

Who doesn’t love meatballs. There’s at least one person in this house who would have them every week. This recipe by Olia Hercules makes heaps to help with that problem.

Wine Suggestion: great with a simple Sangiovese with bright and slightly crunchy fruits and a good wack of tannins. Rocca delle Macie’s Chianti Vernaiolo is our standby and doesn’t hide behind oak, rather celebrates the joy of fruit. The added joy is the smooth tannins this wine brings despite the potentially awkward Sangiovese grape; they have a great feel for getting the balance right even with a bouncingly youthful cuvee.

Olia’s Meatballs – Sugo Della Mamma – makes 30 meatballs

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 60g stale sourdough bread with crusts (or dry out 80g of fresh bread chunks in the oven)
  • 250ml hot whole milk
  • 20g parsley, very finely chopped
  • 400g beef mince
  • 400g pork mince
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 100g Pecorino/Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ nutmeg, finely grated

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • up to 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised but left whole
  • 800g tomato passata or 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • a couple of sprigs of basil
  • Tagliagelle, pappardelle or orecchiette, to serve

Put the bread into a bowl and pour over the hot milk. Leave for 5 mintues then press the bread down to make sure it’s all soaked. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.

Mix the mince, egg, bread and soaking milk, grated garlic, parsley, cheese and nutmeg together. Season well with 1 tbsp of sea salt and lots of black pepper. Use your hands to mix it all together really well.

Wet your hands and shape the mixture into about 30 golf-ball sixed meatballs.

Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil for the sauce. Fry the meatballs in batches until browned on a couple of sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

If you need more fat you can add the extra 2 tbsp of oil, then add the bruised garlic and cook for a few minutes to infuse the oil, then remove and discard.

Add the passata or tomatoes to the pan, then fill the jar or tin with 200ml water and add that with a generous pinch of salt. Cook over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce and cook for 15-20 minutes at a gentle bubble. Add the basil sprigs for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Cook the pasta, then roughy drain so a little water remains. Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in, ladle over the sauce and meatballs and gently stir to combine.

Serve with extra grated pecorino.

(Original recipe from Home Food by Olia Hercules, Bloomsbury, 2022.)

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We know it’s not broad bean season, but frozen broad beans are right up there with frozen peas as an excellent frozen veg and so we eat them all year round. This is a recipe from Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules and the perfect side dish for fish (or indeed fishfingers if you’re avoiding the shops!). It’s different from our usual potatoes as we tend to add lots of Irish butter, we didn’t miss it here, though we did spread some on the potato skins – it would be a shame to waste them!

Crushed potatoes with broad beans – serves 4 as a side

  • 350g baking potatoes, skins on
  • 50g streaky bacon
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 150g frozen broad beans
  • 50g crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200C and cook for 40 minutes to 1 an hour, until completely soft inside. You don’t need the skins but this method will give perfectly crispy skins that you can eat with a bit of butter and salt while you finish the dish.

Meanwhile, heat a splash of vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat, add the bacon and fry until the fat starts to release. When it starts to crisp, add the scallions and cook for a few minutes to soften.

Cook the broad beans in a pan of salty boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain.

Scoop the warm potato out of the skins and put into a saucepan over a very low heat. Add the beans and crush until smoothish, but still with a bit of texture. Stir in the crème fraîche and dill, then season generously with salt and black pepper.

Spoon the bacon and its fat over the dish and serve.

(Original recipe from Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020.)

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You will need a wide heavy-based casserole dish for this as you ideally want the cabbage rolls in one layer. Make sure you season every component generously as you go. If you follow the suggestion of putting just 50g of the filling in each cabbage leaf (as you should or they will be impossible to roll), you will have too much. You can either stuff a few extra leaves or put the stuffing in the freezer for another day, which is what we did. This is a traditional Ukranian dish from Mamushka by Olia Hercules. The barberries are optional and we couldn’t find them so made the dish without, still delicious!

Wine Suggestion: We couldn’t pass up a hearty red for this dish, and a new favourite, the Parker Coonawarra Shiraz; full bodied and yet elegant and effortless with that characteristic eucalyptus twist, well recommended.

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml water
  • 1 Savoy cabbage, 12 leaves separated, cut out the thicker part of the spine with a sharp knife or scissors
  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 160g white long-grain rice, parboiled for 5 minutes and drained
  • 40g barberries (optional)
  • a small bunch of dill, chopped, to serve
  • 100ml sour cream, to serve

Heat the sunflower oil in a large heavy-based casserole dish. Add half the chopped onion and all of the grated carrot and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add the sugar and tomato purée and cook for 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, tomatoes and water, then season well with salt and pepper. You can turn it off at this point while you prepare the cabbage leaves but bring it back up to a simmer when you’re ready to add the cabbage to the dish.

Blanch the cabbage leaves in lots of boiling salty water for 2 minutes, then refresh in cold water and drain well on kitchen paper. It’s easier to do this in a few batches.

Mix the beef mince, pork mince, parboiled rice, barberries (if using), plenty of salt and pepper and the rest of the onion together in a bowl. Put 50g of the filling on each cabbage leaf and fold up into a parcel.

Lay the parcels on top of the sauce with the folded side facing down. You want them to fit quite snugly so they don’t unravel. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes or until cooked through. You can leave the lid off at the end to reduce the sauce a bit if you like.

Serve with chopped dill and sour cream.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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