The Curious Cook

Lucky dip

Elgin free range chicken meatballs with roasted butternut, baby beetroot and mangetout. Green goddess dressing is the star of the show. Photo: Justus Wagener

As much I love a good salad, in winter it becomes a chore to eat. The quality of fresh ingredients declines, tomatoes don’t ripen and it feels like your hands may develop frostbite while you rinse lettuce in that icy water. I find I am inclined to turn my greens into a luscious dip which I slather over roasted vegetables hot out the oven.

Served at room temperature, it is so easy to whip up a green goddess dressing with a whole avocado,  fresh herbs,  a couple of spring onions and plenty of lemon juice. I often add a few celery leaves and mung bean sprouts for an extra dose of much needed chlorophyll.

Serve the green goddess dressing with chicken or venison meatballs and baby beetroot steamed and peeled then doused in balsamic vinegar and white pepper while still warm. I often make Elgin free range chicken meatballs for this ensemble, defrosting them and re-forming them into smaller balls so they are easier to dip. This is a great meal for small children as they love bite sized food with a variety of textures and flavours. You can also sneak in some extra greens without them noticing by blending a handful of baby spinach into the dressing!

If you can’t find free range chicken mince or the lovely herby meatballs (which are only available at Elgin free range chicken outlets, not at most supermarkets), try this easy peasy recipe for ostrich meatballs. Fry a large diced onion in canola oil with half a teaspoon ground cumin, fresh garlic and cayenne pepper to taste. Stir through two tablespoons of fruit chutney and one tablespoon of All Gold tomato sauce and allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, season the raw ostrich mince with black pepper and salt. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees on the fan setting. Add the onion mixture to the mince and blend well with a wooden spoon. Then add a cup of white breadcrumbs and a well beaten egg, using your hands to thoroughly blend together. Roll into small balls and roll in flour. Place in a baking dish brushed with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes before turning them over with tongs and baking the other sides for a further 15 minutes.

Another favourite is to make an easy butter bean dip to serve with vegetables while they are roasting in the oven. Peel a large butternut and cut into medium sized chunks. Arrange on a large baking tray and sprinkle with whole cumin seeds, smoked paprika and Ina Paarman rosemary and olive salt. Cut two red onions into wedges and tumble over the butternut. Sprinkle with red wine vinegar and coat generously with olive oil. Roast in an oven set to 200 degrees while you make the dip.

Rinse a tin of butter beans and add to the smoothie cup of your blender. Add half a teaspoon of honey, a small clove of crushed garlic, three pinches of roasted and ground coriander seed, two pinches of Himalayan salt and half a teaspoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Add a handful of coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley, three tablespoons of full cream yoghurt and about a teaspoon of olive oil. Blend until smooth and serve with the roasted vegetables or with carrot sticks as a snack.  A perfect combination for the more carnivorously inclined is to serve the butternut, butter bean dip and ostrich meatballs all together.

These combinations make for a healthy meal with satisfying results.

Dip and enjoy!



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