Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Wrapped in Flavor!

Polpette al Vapore al Finnocchio & Salvia con "Chutney" Piccante di Prugne, Zenzero & Timo
Steamed Fennel & Sage Ground Meat Rolls with Spicy Plum, Ginger & Thyme Chutney


I got a little adventurous in the kitchen this evening- but at the same time, there was so little work involved... it was quite amazing how quickly I put this little treat together!

These would make a great party dish or appetizer- absolutely packed with tangy, rich flavor- delicious, healthy and refreshingly different!


Sage gave the ground meat rolls a wonderfully Autumnal flavor and using plums to make this tangy and fruity chutney was the perfect compliment- maybe exotic sounding at first, but basically a simple, seasonal dish.

I managed to make 4 meatballs and enough chutney to serve with them (it was just an experiment after all!), from 300g of mixed ground beef and pork, some breadcrumbs, 2 Spring onions, 9-10 fresh plums and some parsley, sage, lemon, chili and thyme... a small investment for such a great reward!


I decided to steam the meat rolls, basically to keep all of the flavors trapped-in and intense- as well as of course to cut out any unnecessary fat... you know me! There was absolutely no fat added to this dish- it relied solely on the fat that was already in the ground meat. That's just the way I like it! Grilled would have been perfect too... yut you know what our weather has been like over here in Frankfurt this year... ugh!


As always- there was a little chopping to do before I could get started on the cooking. The plums and Spring onion relatively fine... the chili and ginger as fine as possible!


For the chutney, I put the plums, half of the onion, the finely chopped chili and ginger and 3-4 sprigs of thyme into a small saucepan with a little salt and pepper. I turned up the heat ans started them cooking together, stirring all the time, until the plums began to give off their juices. I continued cooking on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for the next 20-25 minutes, which was plenty of time to get busy with preparing the ground meat.

After around 15 minutes of cooking, I added the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I stirred these in well and let it continue gently simmering and rendering down.


In the meantime, I mixed the ground meat together with 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs, the remaining Spring onion, the finely chopped parsley, a good teaspoon of fennel seeds, salt and pepper and kneaded it together thoroughly.


Once it was nicely mixed together, I divided the meat up into 4 portions and began bringing them into shape.


I rolled them out into little "sausages", if you will, as I thought they would cook quicker and finished each roll off by adding 2 aromatic sage leaves to each.


I then laid them out on a sheet of cling film around 2" apart and began to roll them up tightly.


I twisted the 2 rolls together out of 1 sheet of cling film- this made them easier to handle.


I put the tightly-wrapped rolls into a water bath and let them boil and steam away, with the lid on, for the next 20 minutes, turning them over once halfway through.

By that time, they were steamed through and juicy with all of the trapped meat, sage and fennel flavor... mmmh! 

Before serving, I slid them out of their cling-film wrapper, straight back into the drained saucepan, and let them sizzle a little in their own juices. This allowed them to brown slightly and to pick up a little more surface aroma.


And all that I can say is that along with the tangy, sweet, sour and spicy plum chutney... they made a great combination!


I love how flavorful these are without having any added fat... and with the equally healthy chutney, they made these into a real treat with no guilt-factor! You see folks- it IS doable! 

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