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Posts Tagged ‘Meatballs’

Spring Lamb Meatballs with Broad Beans & Courgettes

Totally different flavours going on in this meatball recipe from Honey & Co at Home,  but deliciously tasty. Such a good use for broad beans and anything full of dill is always a hit with us.

Wine Suggestion: try to find a fresh Mediterranean inspired white with a bit of zip. Tonight a Carricante from Gulfi on the southern slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily; a mineral undertone, hints of herbs, fresh grapefruit and almonds. We could almost taste the sunshine.

Spring lamb meatballs with broad beans and courgettes – serves 4

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g lamb mince
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 tbsp of ground fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • about 10g of dill, chopped
  • about 10g of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder

FOR THE COOKING LIQUID:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek,  trimmed and roughly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 200g broad beans (we used frozen broad beans)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • about 10g of dill, chopped
  • about 10g of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Hands are good for this but you might want to wear gloves to avoid yellow nails. Shape into ping-ball sized meatballs, you should get 12-14. Put the meatballs on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil for the cooking liquid in a large pot and sweat the leeks, garlic and courgettes for 5-6 minutes, then sprinkle with salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the broad beans, bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Tip in the seared meatballs with any juices from the tray. Add 500ml of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low, add the chopped herbs and cover the pan. Simmer for 40 minutes, then serve.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. At Home by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Pavillion, 2018.)

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Chinese Meatball Stir-fry

This is a diet dish but is packed with flavour and you get a decent bowl full to really fill you up. The recipe is by Tom Kerridge and the ingredient list is long, but it’s easy to put together and other than the fresh veg you probably have most of the ingredients in the cupboard.

Chinese Meatball Stir-fry – serves 4

  • vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 1 ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 200g carrots, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, diced
  • 300ml fresh beef stock
  • 120g Asian mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 80g mangetout
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle

Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce. Leave to cool.

Put the beef mince into a large bowl and add the cooled onions, Chinese five-spice, bicarbonate of soda and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands, then divide into 16 equally sized meatballs. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Put a large non-stick wok/frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a splash of vegetable oil. Add the meatballs and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, return the wok/frying pan to a high heat. Add the sesame oil, red onion and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes stirring continually. Add the peppers and cook for 4 minutes, add a dash of the beef stock at any point if things start to stick.

Add the mushrooms, meatballs and half of the beef stock to the pan, then add the hoisin and oyster sauces and the rice wine vinegar. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Mix the cornflour to a paste with 1 tbsp of the remaining beef stock and pout into the pan, along with the rest of the stock.

Add the mangetout and scallions and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the mangetout are just cooked and the meatballs heated through.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce

This is a great tomato sauce and of course can be made without meatballs and used in all sorts of things. We like to make the entire recipe and freeze the leftover meatballs in the sauce for tasty meals for kids or when we don’t have time to cook. They’re good served with linguine –  toss the pasta with the meatballs and sauce before serving with some grated Parmesan.

Wine Suggestion: with the higher proportion of pork in the meatballs we think a medium bodied red works better than richer, fuller-bodied wines with this. We went with a Chateau Manoir du Gravoux from Castillon in Bordeaux. A Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend with a lovely freshness and pure, mineral character made a good match.

Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce – makes about 40 meatballs and 1.5 litres of sauce

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • small pinch of chilli flakes
  • 750g fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small handful of oregano, chopped
  • caster sugar, if needed

FOR THE POLPETTE:

  • 1kg minced pork
  • 500g minced beef
  • 3 medium eggs
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • small pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • cooked linguine pasta and grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat half the oil in a saucepan on a medium-low heat and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli for 15 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and cook gently for another 15 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer on a very low heat for an hour.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the oregano. Season with a little sugar if needed, then whizz using a hand-blender or food processor for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix together well with your hands, then roll into golf ball sized meatballs. They should weigh about 45g each. Place on a large greased baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown.

Add the meatballs to the hot sauce and poach for 10 minutes with the lid on.

Serve with linguine and grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

 

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Albondigas

These spicy Spanish meatballs are delicious and just the sort of casual thing we feel like on a Friday night with some patatas bravas, a green salad, and a glass of wine.

Wine Suggestion: Our choice for this tonight was the Dominio de Tares Baltos, a Mencia from Bierzo in Spain. Velvety and dark fruited with a fresh finish and medium body.

Albondigas – Spanish Meatballs – serves 4-6

  • 600g lamb mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • small bunch of flatleaf parsley, finely chopped plus 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley to serve
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 50ml double cream
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp honey

To make the meatballs put all the ingredients, except the oil, into a large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper and mix with your hands. Shape into 16 meatballs of about 50g each.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Put the meatballs onto an oiled baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes or until browned and cooked through, keep them warm.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the onion and fry gently for about 10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, spices, and bay leaves and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring, then add the tomatoes and honey. Pour in 200ml of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes.

To finish the dish, put the meatballs into a large, deep frying pan, and cover with the sauce. Simmer gently for 5 minutes to heat the meatballs through and reduce the sauce a little. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure, Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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Chianti-baked Meatballs

These smell delicious even before they go into the oven. Serve with top-quality pasta like our favourite, Martelli from Panzano in Tuscany, or potatoes roasted with rosemary.

Wine Suggestion: naturally this goes with Chianti, but feel free to adventure a bit further if you like as a good Brunello with a bit of age will make this feel a bit special despite the humble ingredients. Don’t use your best wine in the sauce though; we used a nice, but inexpensive Bordeaux which had good fruit and tannin.

Chianti-baked Meatballs – serves 4

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 50g black olives, stoned and chopped
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped parsley

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250ml Chianti (or other red wine)
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • a large handful of basil, chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.

Mix all the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl – the easiest way is to use clean hands. When everything is mixed together really well, wet your hands and roll into small or large meatballs (aim for 12 large meatballs or 20 small ones).

Gently toss the meatballs in 2tbsp of olive oil in an ovenproof shallow casserole or roasting tray. Try to find one that is just big enough to fit the meatballs but not so they are squashed together.

Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes, then pour over the wine and turn the meatballs over to make sure they are coated. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar and basil, then cook for another 20-25 minutes or until bubbling and thickened.

Serve with pasta or roast potatoes with rosemary.

(Original recipe by Jo Pratt in BBC Olive Magazine, March 2007.)

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This is really tasty and aromatic and much quicker to prepare than most tagine. You can serve with some plain buttered couscous but the Golden Couscous below is particularly good and the two brightly coloured dishes look fab when served in a bowl and scattered with fresh herbs.

Wine Suggestion: we love the wines from Lebanon as they tend to go well with the cuisine of the Middle East and North Africa. For this dish we opened the Massaya Terrasses de Baalbeck, a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah from the slopes of Mount Lebanon, above the Temple of Baalbeck. Earthy spice and pure, it provided a nice lift to the drizzly days we’ve had recently.

Lamb kofta tagine – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp finely chopped root ginger
  • ½ red chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint

FOR THE KOFTA:

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 125g very finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp cardamom seeds (crush some green cardamom pods with a pestle & mortar or the end of a rolling pin to get the seeds)
  • ½ tsp paprika

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas 2.

Put the oil and butter into a large casserole dish over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for 6-8 minutes or until starting to turn a light golden colour.

Stir in the turmeric, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice and half the chopped coriander. Add the tin of tomatoes and the sugar, then bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile make the kofta by placing all of the ingredients into a large bowl and seasoning with salt and black pepper. Mix together well using your hands, then roll into about 30 small balls.

Carefully lower the koftas into the pot with a spoon and gently roll them to cover in the sauce, then cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Season to taste, then stir in the remaining lemon juice and sprinkle with the chopped mint and coriander.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen, HarperCollins, 2013.)

Lamb Kofta Tagine with Golden Couscous

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Spiced Meatballs in tomato sauce

We weren’t so sure about the cinnamon in this meatball recipe but it added a delicious warmth so don’t be tempted to leave it out or reduce the quantity. Much satisfied slurping!

Wine Suggestion: Tuscany beckons for this dish and the juicy red fruits of Morellino won this time to good effect. The MorisFarms (Spanish heritage but longtime settled in the Maremma in Tuscany) Morellino for our mind hits the spot and has an honesty and vitality of winemakers clearly part of their landscape. Bright red fruits and a delightful juiciness that only coastal Tuscany can deliver.

Spiced meatballs in tomato sauce – serves 6

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 oregano sprigs, strip off the leaves and discard the stalks
  • ½ tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 900g beef mince
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • Cooked pasta to serve (allow 100g per person) .

Make the sauce first. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan together and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add a bit of water if necessary. Taste and season.

For the meatballs, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and cook the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and chilli, and cook for another 90 seconds or so. Put the cooked onion mixture into a bowl with the beef, spices and parsley and season really well. Use wet hands to form the mince into pingpong ball sized meatballs.

Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan and brown the meatballs in batches. They don’t need to be cooked the whole way through at this stage just nicely browned on the outside. Return all the meatballs to the pan, add the tomato sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Stir the cooked pasta and meatballs together in a warm shallow bowl and serve.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon

Delicious meatballs with a real summery feel. Use fresh broad beans if you can get them but frozen will work just as well. You can prepare this dish in advance and just reheat before serving.

Wine Suggestion: The trick with this dish is to make sure the wine is medium bodied so a lighter red with ripe (not dry) tannins would work a treat. An easy and uncomplicated shiraz cabernet blend from Australia or a nice Pinot Noir would work a treat. Alternately a medium bodied white like a good Verdicchio is a great option too. We drank the Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio which matched the dish perfectly with good depth of fruit and a great minerality which  allowed the food and wine to shine equally.

Beef Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon – serves 4

  • 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 lengths
  • 2½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • salt and black pepper

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
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp baharat spice mix (apparently you can buy this or you can use the recipe below*)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp capers, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten

Put all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl. Add ¾ tsp of salt and lots of black pepper and mix well with your hands. Form into ping-pong sized balls (you should get about 20).

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a very large frying pan with a lid. Sear half the meatballs over a medium heat, turning until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove, add another ½ tbsp olive oil to the pan and cook the other batch of meatballs. Remove from the pan and wipe clean.

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

Heat the rest of the olive oil in the pan you seared the meatballs in. Add the thyme, garlic and spring onion and sauté over a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the unshelled broad beans, 1½ tbsp of the lemon juice, 80ml of the stock, ¼ tsp of salt and lots 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. Add the rest of the stock, cover the pan and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the sauce is very runny you can remove the lid and reduce a bit. The meatballs will soak up a lot of the juice so make sure you have plenty of sauce left. You can leave the meatballs off the heat now until ready to serve.

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

Serve with basmati rice.

*Baharat Spice Mix – 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 small cinnamon stick – roughly chopped, ½ tsp whole cloves, ½ tsp ground allspice, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1tsp cardamom pods, ½ a whole nutmeg grated. Blend all the spices in a grinder or pestle and mortar until you have a fine powder. Store in an airtight jar.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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We found these to be a surprisingly tasty alternative to traditional spaghetti and meatballs. We loved these for their freshness and verve; it really hit the spot for a weeknight dinner. It was also usefully quick and easy as well as being very cost effective.

Wine Suggestion: try some of Italy’s thoroughly modern whites that are being rejuvenated and reinvented. If you can find a good Pecorino from the Marche you’ll be in for a treat. We had a glass of Umani Ronchi’s Vellodoro which had good freshness of fruit and terrific depth of minerality and nutty savouriness; showing what can be done with a forgotten grape variety when love and attention are given.

Spicy Chicken Meatballs – to serve 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 500g chicken mince
  • 3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 50g pancetta, chopped
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 500g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 125ml chicken stock
  • 500g fusilli  pasta, cooked, to serve
  • Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the coriander and chilli and cook for another minute.

Put the chicken in a bowl with the breadcrumbs, pancetta, parsley and some salt. Add the spiced onion and mix well with your hands. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then wet your hands with cold water and roll the mixture into small meatballs.

Put the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season. Put the meatballs on another lined tray and drizzle with the remaining oil. Roast the tomatoes and meatballs for 15-20 minute, or until the meatballs are golden and the tomatoes are starting to burst.

Put the stock and tomatoes in a saucepan and add the meatballs. Simmer for 5 minutes and season.

Serve with the cooked pasta and some Parmesan shavings.

(Original recipe from Bill Granger Every Day, Murdoch Books, 2006)

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These meatballs are melt in the mouth. Don’t make them too big (no bigger than golf ball size) or they will dry out.

Meatballs in Fragrant Coconut Broth – serves 2-3

  • 2tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, bashed and cut in half
  • 5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut  milk
  • zest and juice of 1 lime

FOR THE MEATBALLS: 

  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 500g minced beef
  • 75g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3-4 tbsp milk

First make the meatballs. Sauté the onion and garlic and some seasoning in a hot frying pan in a little oil for about 5 minutes or until soft and lightly coloured, adding the chilli flakes after a couple of minutes. Put the mince in a large bowl and season. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and moisten with the milk. Add seasoning, then stir the breadcrumbs and onion mixture into the mince and combine well. With wet hands, shape the mince mixture into golf-size balls. Transfer to a lightly greased plate or tray and chill for 30 minutes until firm.

Brown the meatballs in a clean oiled pan for 4-5 minutes, turning until brown on all sides.

Add the coriander seeds, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, chilli flakes, lemongrass and ginger. Heat through, stirring, until aromatic, then add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Simmer for 8-12 minutes until the sauce has a good flavour and has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through.

Add the lime zest and juice and serve hot.

Wine Suggestion: this is a rich and bold dish and requires a fuller bodied white wine with texture and savouriness. We would suggest a good Grand Cru Pinot Gris from Alsace (a drier version) or a Condrieu from the Northern Rhone. The wines would ideally have a couple of years development in the bottle to enable the overt fruitiness to mature and the savoury flavours to come to the fore.

(Original recipe from Gordon Ramsey’s Ultimate Cookery Course, Hodder & Stoughton, 2012.)

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In Morocco they serve bread with every meal. If you want eat this Moroccan-style, put the dish in the middle of the table and use flat-breads to mop up the little meatballs and eggs. It’s really worthwhile seeking out hot paprika (the paprika available in supermarkets is the sweet version), but don’t be tempted to use smoked paprika as it has a much stronger flavour and will overpower the dish. You can use minced lamb instead of beef if you prefer. The tagine also works well without the eggs, but they do add an extra layer of flavour and texture.

Kefta Mkaouara – to serve 4

  • 500g minced beef
  • small handful chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • 4 eggs (optional)
  • handful fresh coriander, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Mix the mince with the parsley, 1 tsp of the cumin and ½ tsp of the paprika, some black pepper and about 1 tsp salt. Wet your hands and make lots of tiny meatballs (about the size of cherry tomatoes).

Heat a couple of good glugs of olive oil in a frying pan and brown the meatballs in batches. Remove them with a slotted spoon.

Add the onion to the pan with a little extra oil if necessary and cook gently until very soft (about 10 minutes). Add the tomatoes, the rest of the cumin and paprika, 1tsp ground black pepper and the garlic. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes but be careful that it doesn’t reduce down too much and become thick. Season well.

Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and pour into a shallow ovenproof dish. Push the back of a ladle into the mixture to make 4 wells to crack the eggs into. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Serve with the coriander and some warm flatbreads.

Drink with: a fruity red. We had a glass of our favourite “everyday” wine of the moment which the the Selvapiana Chianti Rufina and it worked a treat.

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These are lovely and low-calorie (just 236 calories per serving to be exact). The creamy sauce gives them a nice richness too. Great with tagliatelle for a mid-week meal.

Creamy Swedish Meatballs  – to serve 4

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 450g lean minced pork
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 sprigs dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3-4 tbsp soured cream
Mix the onion, pork, egg yolk and half the dill in a bowl and season well. Lightly wet your hands, then make 12 golf-ball sized meatballs.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs, turning often, for about 12-15 minutes or until nicely coloured all over. Mix together the sour cream and the rest of the dill and spoon over the meatballs.

Serve with tagliatelle or mashed potato.

Wine Suggestion: We’d probably go for a light red here, perhaps a Dolcetto from north-west Italy or a light Zinfandel/Primativo.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Rigatoni with Meatballs

A great weeknight supper that we cooked when Jules’ brother Peter came to stay during last week … only to discover that this is one of his reliable weeknight dinners too! Another Silver Spoon convert as we’d given him this book for Christmas.

Rigatoni con Polpettine – to serve 4

  • 300g minced meat (we used a mix of beef and pork)
  • 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ½ garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 small sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 400ml passata
  • 350g rigatoni
  • 25g Parmesan

Mix the meat, parsley and garlic together in a bowl, then stir in the egg and season with salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into small meatballs, dust with flour and set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion, celery, carrot and rosemary and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add the meatballs and turn up the heat to medium. Cook until lightly browned all over, add the passata and season with salt. Lower the heat, cover and simmer, stirring now and then, for about 40 minutes.

Cook the rigatoni in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and tip into the meatballs. Mix well and heat through for a couple of minutes.

Sprinkle over some Parmesan to serve.

Wine Suggestion: Italian of course, but it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. We drank a delightful Chianti Rufina from Fattoria di Basciano which was perfect; full of lovely cherry fruit, fresh acidity to match the tomato and ripe, grippy tannins to work with the meatballs.

(Original recipe from Silver Spoon Pasta, Phaidon Press Ltd. 2009)

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This comes from a cookbook (The Frankies Spuntino) that was a very thoughtful birthday present for Jules from my sister Claire: an authentic Italian hangout in New York. We’d never heard of it, so it was a great treat to be introduced to something new. The two Frankie’s have gone back to their roots to produce real home cooking like their mothers and grand-mothers made in Italy and this is a great read as well as a useful addition to our recipe inventory. A Spuntino is a snack or a place to eat them, so this is about flavour and comfort rather than cheffy complications – we like it!

Warning – you will need to start this recipe the day before; it is not something you’ll have time to whip up after work as it takes at least 4 hours for the big pot of sauce alone. It is well worth it and the leftover sauce is exceptionally useful for so many extra dishes, plus it is a darn sight better than those jars of tomato sauces with celebrities on the front that you buy at the shops. Julie made the sauce while I was at work on Saturday and then we made the meatballs together on Sunday.

Frankies Spuntino’s very useful tomato sauce – makes heaps!

  • 1 x US cup (237ml) good quality olive oil
  • 13 cloves garlic
  • 4 x 800g tins of Italian tomatoes (go to a good deli to get them – we got ours in Roy Fox’s)
  • Large pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tsps fine sea salt

Put oil and garlic into a large deep saucepan and cook over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, giving the odd stir, until he garlic is deep golden with streaks of brown, and fragrant. If it starts to smell bitter or is colouring too quickly take if off the heat and turn the heat down.

While the garlic is on, pour the tomatoes into a bowl (you’ll need a big one) and crush them with your hands. Discard the stem end and any basil leaves in the can.

When the garlic is done, add the chilli flakes and cook them for 30 seconds or so, to infuse the spice into the oil. Throw in the tomatoes and salt and give it a good stir. Turn the heat up to medium and bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer. Leave it there for 4 hours – stirring now and again.

Check for salt at the end. You can now cook the sauce with meat (as below), leave it covered in the fridge for at least 4 days or freeze for a few months. If you are cooking the meatballs cook them in the entire quantity of sauce and then keep the leftover sauce for later – it gives it a great flavour – though remember you did this when your veggie friends come over!

Meatballs to serve 6 (if there is less than 6 people still make the whole batch as they keep in the fridge and can be frozen)

This recipe uses American cup measures so we’ve given you a rough equivalent – I don’t think you need to be too fussy for this recipe

  • 4 slices bread
  • 2 lbs minced beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup (or about 60ml) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese plus about a cup (237ml) for serving
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts
  • 1 1/2 tsps fine sea salt
  • 15 turns white pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) dried breadcrumbs
  • Tomato sauce (see above)

Heat the oven to 160C/325F. Put the fresh bread in a bowl, cover with water, and let it soak for a minute or so. Pour off the water and wring out the bread, then crumble and tear it into pieces.

Combine the bread with all the remaining ingredients, except the tomato sauce, in the order listed. Add the dried breadcrumbs last to adjust for wetness: the mixture should be moist wet, not sloppy wet (our mixture was sloppy wet so we added more dried breadcrumbs).

Shape the meat mixture into biggish meatballs and space them evenly on a baking tray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs will be firm but still juicy and gently yielding when cooked through.

At this point you can cool the meatballs and leave them in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze them for later.

Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce in a saute pan large enough to take the meatballs easily.

Put the meatballs into the sauce and turn the heat up a little bit. Simmer for half an hour or so until they soak up a bit of sauce. They don’t get better the longer you leave them so don’t abandon them altogether.

Serve 3 meatballs per person in plenty of red sauce , and cover each portion with a load of grated Pecorino.

Save the leftover sauce and use it anytime tomato sauce is required eg pizza, pasta, lasagne, etc.

Yum yum!

Wine suggestion: something red and Italian is the obvious choice and will give you the right amount of acidity to balance the tomato sauce – nothing too fancy!

 

 

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