Athenian Rissoles with Pavlos’ Sauce

From the FIVE recipe book, this Greek inspired recipe is perfect for a speedy dinner. The rissoles, or chickpea balls, are cooked in a herby tomato passata sauce.

FIVE
From the book FIVE
By Rachel de Thample
Buy on Amazon

Introduction

This beautifully simple Greek tomato sauce recipe came from the mother of a friend, Pavlos Konstantineas, who shared it with me last summer. Pavlos’ mother uses freshly grated tomatoes instead of passata, and you could do the same, if desired. The dish as a whole makes a light, healthy storecupboard supper, or a lovely starter for a larger Greek-themed feast.

Serves 4
Easy
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min
Total time: 35 min

Ingredients

For Pavlos' Sauce:
A gloss of olive oil
1 onion, grated
690g passata
500ml water
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Athenian Rissoles:
3 x 400g tins of chickpeas
1 large onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chilli flakes (more or less, to taste)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
A large handful of fresh parsley and mint leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
A dusting of plain white or chickpea (gram) flour
Olive oil or ghee

Instructions

For the sauce, add a gloss of oil to a saucepan, then add the grated onion and a hit of salt and pepper and cook over a medium-low heat until tender. Pour in the passata and let it bubble away for 10 minutes, until nicely thickened.

In a separate pan, warm the chickpeas in their cooking juices until tender. Drain, then add the grated onions to the warm chickpeas. Toss in the garlic, cinnamon, chilli, lemon zest and a good squeeze of juice. Add a hit of salt and pepper and pulse in a blender or food processor or mash with a potato masher or fork until you have a coarse paste. Fold the herbs through.

Add the water to the tomato sauce and bring to the boil. Swirl in the cinnamon and oregano, reduce the heat to low and let it gently bubble away for 5-10 minutes while you cook your rissoles.

Shape the chickpea mix into golf-ball-sized dumplings. The mix should give you 16 rissoles, allowing 4 per person. If the mix is a little wet, dust with flour. Press to flatten the balls a little, making patties.

Heat a 1cm deep puddle of oil in a large frying pan and shallow fry the rissoles, in batches, until golden on all sides. Make sure you give the dumplings plenty of space in the pan so they can cook evenly. Spoon the finished rissoles onto a warm plate or baking dish as you finish the others.

Taste the tomato sauce and season as needed. Spoon a good puddle of the sauce into shallow bowls or plates. Top with the warm rissoles and scatter a little fresh parsley over the top.

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