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Ottolenghi’s Beef Meatballs with Broad Beans and Lemon

Yotam Ottolenghi

by Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi from Jerusalem

An all-time favourite Ottolenghi recipe, these beef meatballs are packed with broad beans, making this a perfect spring supper.

From the book

Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi


Fresh, sharp and very, very tasty, these meatballs are our idea of the perfect spring supper dish. Serve them with Basmati rice and orzo (see page 103 of Jerusalem) and there isn’t need for much else. Whole blanched almonds would be a good addition, for texture. Add them to the pan along with the unshelled broad beans.

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4½ tbsp olive oil
350g broad beans, fresh or frozen
4 whole thyme sprigs
6 garlic cloves, sliced
8 spring onions, cut at an angle into 2cm segments
2½ tbsp lemon juice
500ml chicken stock
salt and black pepper
For the meatballs:
300g minced beef
150g minced lamb
1 medium onion, finely chopped
120g breadcrumbs
2 tbsp each chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint, dill and coriander, plus ½ tbsp extra of each to finish the dish
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp baharat spice mix
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp capers, chopped
1 egg, beaten


Place all of the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add ¾ teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper and mix well with your hands. Form into balls about the same size as ping-pong balls. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in an extra-large frying pan for which you have a lid. Sear half the meatballs over a medium heat, turning them until they are brown all over, about 5 minutes. Remove, add another ½ tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the other batch of meatballs. Remove from the pan and wipe it clean.

While the meatballs are cooking, throw the broad beans into a pot with plenty of salted boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Remove the skins from half the broad beans and discard the shells.

Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan in which you seared the meatballs. Add the thyme, garlic and spring onion and sauté over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the unshelled broad beans, 1½ tablespoons of the lemon juice, 80ml of the stock, ¼ teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper. The beans should be almost covered with liquid. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.

Return the meatballs to the pan with the broad beans. Add the remaining stock, cover the pan and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. If it is very runny, remove the lid and reduce a little. Once the meatballs stop cooking they will soak up a lot of the juices so make sure there is still plenty of sauce at this point. You can leave the meatballs now, off the heat, until ready to serve.

Just before serving, reheat the meatballs and add a little water, if needed, to get enough sauce. Add the remaining herbs and tablespoon of lemon juice, the shelled broad beans and stir very gently. Serve immediately.


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From the book: Jerusalem

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