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Christian Vegetarian Association Presents:
Take Heart!
Spanish Chickpea Balls ~ Vegetarian Albondigas

 Preparation time: 45mins (+ 30min chill time)
Serves 4 (as a main w/ rice) 4-6 (as a Tapas)
For the Chickpea Balls:
425g (15 oz) chickpeas (cooked or tinned)
3-4 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zest
1/3 cup fine wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten (omit if vegan and substitute with extra olive oil)
For the sauce:

1 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, mined
300g (10½ oz) ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup fresh parsley &/or coriander, roughly chopped

- Mince the chickpeas in a food processor or by hand until soft, make sure to retain texture, do not process or mash them to a pulp, you want to still be able to see small chunks of chickpea.
- In a large bowl combine the minced chickpeas with the garlic, lemon zest, bread crumbs, spices and egg if using; use your hands bring the mixture together adding the olive oil a little at a time until the mixture starts to come together to form a mass. Depending on the chickpeas you use the mixture may be a little dry, add a little lemon juice if you desire to get the right consistency.
- Once the mixture is moist and combined roll tablespoons of mixture into balls. For best results refrigerate the balls for 30 minutes or so before frying.
- Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a good sized heavy based frypan. Over a medium heat cook the balls in two or three batches, tossing in the pan occasionally until golden all over. Set the cooked chickpea balls aside on paper towel.
- To make the rich tomato sauce add 1 tbs of olive oil to the same pan; add the onion and cook over a medium to high heat for 2-3 minutes until soft, add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the wine and allow to simmer for about 1 minute before adding the tomatoes, tomato paste and stock. Let the sauce simmer gently for 8-10 minutes.
- Add the cayenne and peas, stir to combine, add the chickpea balls and allow to gently simmer for a further 5-10 minutes until sauce has reduced slightly and flavours are rich and spicy. Remove from heat and toss through chopped herbs.
- Serve the Spanish Chickpea Balls as a tapas or with Spanish Rice for a main meal.

Your question and comments are welcome

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