Looking for an unconventional yet still festive meal – then try this gluten-free harissa meatballs, saffron rice and harissa-butter corn.
This year, due to plenty of things going on, I will not be seeing my bestie over the Christmas break. Doubly sad is that he is the kiddoes godfather, and they love him to bits. So they have been pretty sad (and very vocal about it to him).
In fact so vocal, that when his weekend plans got cancelled, he promptly phoned up at 7am and told me he was coming up from London to surprise the kiddoes in 2.5 hours. Oh and can we do Christmas pressies and Christmas brunch during his flying visit.
Now the Christmas pressies I was happy with as I normally buy most of my presents in the January sales (yeah I am a planner like that). The Christmas brunch idea got me rather in a panic. Erm, 2.5 hours to think of and whip up something befitting Christmas. Erm gulp. Plus of course he doesn’t eat turkey. Or chicken. And is trying out a gluten-free diet. Which means that instead of doing a conventional Christmas dinner with a chicken instead of turkey I had to be a bit more unconventional.
Tip here peeps, don’t take everything out of the freezer at once, you might find it rather interesting . Is it me or is there some freezer dynamics going on that means when you empty the entire freezer, you can never fit everything back in.
So I found some sweetcorn, meatballs, onions, garlic, chilli, herbs and ready-cooked rice. The pantry yielded some chopped tomatoes, almonds and harissa paste.
You know when people say “I just chucked a few ingredients together.” Well, in this case I actually did. I decided on a harissa meatball curry, almond saffron rice and harissa butter corn on the cob. Sweet corn would be a desert island take for the bestie so no contest 🙂 .
So less than 1 hr later I had a Christmas brunch on the table. It went down a treat guys, So much so that there was not a single bit left over. Phew, job done.
Basically my obsessive need to have conveniently frozen food, always to hand, saved the day. I can take some of the credit but certainly not all. I remember an aunt of mine saying “everyone says she’s a good cook, but really all she does is put together high quality ingredients”. And that’s what I did. I got some tasty, good quality ingredients and chucked them together, and produced a lovely, unconventional Christmas meal.
Hey saffron lovers. Why not check out this very easy saffron sauce figs and pasta recipe.
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Harissa Meatballs, Saffron Rice & Harissa Butter Corn - GF
- 32 frozen meatballs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100 g (3.5oz) frozen chopped onions
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp frozen chopped coriander
- 0.5 tsp frozen chopped parsley
- 0.25 tsp frozen chopped chilli
- 2 tbsp harissa paste
- 400 g (14 oz) chopped tomatoes
- 240 ml (1 cup) beef or chicken stock
- A handful of fresh parsley chopped
- 1.2 kg frozen cooked rice
- 1.5 tbsp saffron threads
- 1.5 tbsp hot water
- 2 tbsp butter
- 0.5 tbsp olive oil
- A handful of roasted almond flakes
Corn on the Cob and Harrisa Butter
- 625 g (1.37lbs) frozen corn on the cob
- 2.5 tbsp softened butter
- 1 tbsp harissa paste
For the Harrisa Meatballs
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the frozen meatballs, and fry turning frequently until the meatballs are defrosted. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onions to the same pan and sauté the onion over medium heat till soft before adding in the garlic, herbs and chilli and cook for 1 min.
- Stir in the harissa paste, followed by the chopped tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 mins.
- Add in the meatballs, cover and simmer for another 5-7 mins, adjust seasoning and switch off the heat.
For the Saffron Rice
- Microwave the rice according to the packet instruction and set aside.
For the Corn
- Transfer the saffron threads into a small container and add in the hot water and let stand for 5 mins.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan, over medium till the butter melts. Mix in the saffron water and fry for 30 secs. Then mix in the rice and fry till the rice and saffron are well combined and the rice is warmed through. Top with the roasted almond flaked and keep warm.
- Cook the corn according to the packet instructions, drain and set aside in a warm place.
- Add the softened butter and harissa paste into a small bowl and mix until well combined.
- Serve the harissa meatballs, topped with freshly chopped parsley, the saffron rice topped with almonds and the warm corn on the cob with the harissa butter melting on top.
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I am very impressed with your writing totosite I couldn’t think of this, but it’s amazing! I wrote several posts similar to this one, but please come and see!
This dish looks so hearty. I can’t wait to make it for my family. I love harissa but have never used it on meatballs before. The butter corn also looks delicious. Thanks so much for sharing! I’ll report back with how my dish turns out.
Elsa | the whinery
Yum, you had me at saffron rice with toasted almonds… what a lovely meal, I’m sure the bestie enjoyed it. I can’t believe easy it comes together, for such an amazing meal. Lovely photos too:-)
yum looks delicious.
Shashi at RunninSrilankan
So glad you got to hang out with your beastie and your friends had some time with their Godfather – over such a scrumptious and flavor packed meal – and WOW – my hats off to you! Pulling this spread off as quick as you did deserves some major kudos!
Mmmm I love Harissa. It sounds like the perfect addition to these meatballs. And it pairs perfectly with the corn and rice. Yummm!
Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours
Love it when a meal comes together. Always good to have a freezer rummage and come out with a decent dish. Looks very tasty and sounds fab.
Andrea @ The Petite Cook
I absolutely love harissa! This looks such a lovely and well balanced spiced up meal!