Sweet, herby, and comforting, this is an incredibly heart warming and satisfying dish. Balls of beautiful free-range, organic chicken mince, hazelnuts, dates, garlic, and lots of rosemary, sit on top of a heavier-than-it-looks mash of new seasons pears, parsnip, and cauliflower. Finished simply with a crumbling of my favourite goats cheese and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. They’re just wonderful.
500g organic, free range minced chicken
2 French shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup medjool dates, finely chopped
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
2 pears, peeled and diced
2 tbsp crème fraiche
½ tsp nutmeg
2 cups baby spinach, washed
Good quality goat’s cheese
Fill a large pot with water and add parsnip, pear, and cauliflower. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until pear and vegetables are soft and can easily be mashed with the back of a fork. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan, add the shallots, garlic and rosemary and cook until soft – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken mince with the cooked onion and garlic mixture, medjool dates, hazelnuts, nutmeg, and a good pinch of sea salt. Mix using your hands until well combined. Roll into balls – depending on the size you want, this recipe can make up to 16 small balls.
To finish off the mash, add ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, crème fraiche, and a good pinch of salt to the cooked vegetables and pears, using a blender or a masher, blend everything together until you achieve a fairly smooth mash. Season to taste.
Heat some more olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat and add the chicken balls. Cook, turning occasionally until golden and cooked through – about 5-10 minutes.
While the balls are cooking, wilt the spinach in a pan over medium-high heat with a splash of water. Set aside and keep warm.
To serve, pile the mash onto a serving plate. Top with the wilted spinach and then the chicken balls. Scatter with some good quality goat’s cheese, some extra virgin olive oil, and extra rosemary sprigs and hazelnuts.