Monday, 11 May 2015

Tarragon Gondi

This is yet another good Ottolenghi recipe that he has himself adapted from one in Gideon Kalimian's The Persian Kitchen (a book that I have not been able to find any reference to on t’internet). I think what drew me to this - apart from the fact that despite the criticisms he gets (usually related to long lists of weird ingredients, which I quite like) I like to cook his recipes - is the fact that two of the ingredients, dried limes and lime powder, I already had in the cupboard and was keen to find an interesting and unusual recipe for.

Gondi is Jewish Persian dish of matzo-less meatballs served in a soup, traditionally on Shabbat. The recipe may seem to call for a huge amount of fresh herbs but they are fairly essential to Iranian cuisine and the intensely bittersweet and aromatic dried limes also lend the soup a distinctly Persian flavour. Both dried limes and lime powder can be sourced quite easily on the internet - try Persopolis or Spice Mountain and the same shops can also be visited in person in Peckham or Borough Market respectively.

Tarragon Gondi
serves 3

50g basmati rice
250g minced beef
1 medium onion, finely grated or whizzed up in a spice grinder
15g fresh tarragon, leaves picked & chopped
½ tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried Iranian lime powder
3-4 dates, pitted & roughly chopped
sea salt &freshly ground black pepper
1250ml chicken stock
1 whole dried Iranian lime, pierced with a sharp knife or skewer
2 large carrots or 4-5 large chantenay carrots, peeled & cut into 5cm x 0.5cm batons
200g tinned chickpeas, drained
½ tsp turmeric
5 cardamon pods, lightly crushed
10g basil leaves, roughly shredded
10g mint leaves, roughly shredded

Cook the rice in a small pan of boiling water for four minutes then drain, refresh with cold water and drain again. Shake the sieve to get rid of any excess water. Tip the rice into a large bowl and add the beef, onion, tarragon, cumin, lime powder and dates, as well as a large pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper.

Mix everything together well then shape into small balls weighing about 40g each (you should have 12 or so in all). Cover and put in the fridge for half an hour, to firm up.

In a large pan put the stock, limes, carrots, chickpeas, turmeric, cardamom and ½ a teaspoon of salt. Put on a high heat, bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low.

Carefully lower the meatballs into the broth and simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the meat and rice are cooked and the stock has reduced by about half (cover the pan if it reduces too much).

Towards the end of the cooking time press the lime with the back of a spoon, to help release its juices.

Divide the gondi and veg between bowls, spooning the soup on top and sprinkling with the herbs to serve.

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