This post is kindly sponsored by Le Creuset Cookware
I’ve been joking on Twitter recently that I should rename this blog ‘Cake, Meatballs and Ranting.com’ as that’s all I ever appear to talk about on here of late. And today is no different because – oh look! – here’s a recipe for some meatballs. But hey, as my Bubbie says, it’s good for a person to have a shtick. And I’m sure there are worse ones to have than a love of cakes and small round meat products.
You see, here’s the thing. Meatballs make perfect comfort food. And I’ve found myself to be in need of a bit of comfort of late. Take yesterday for example. I spent my day wandering around my house waiting for some news which – if it had been good – could have changed my life for the foreseeable future. Now, I’m not good with waiting, especially if I’m on my own. I have one of those one-track minds which locks into an idea and will not let go. Nothing could distract me – not a bike ride to the shops, not a walk around Liverpool City Centre, not even my beloved America’s Next Top Model could do the trick (although, lets be honest, this most recent cycle is bloody awful). I needed salvation and the ultimate displacement method. Something which would require me to be up to my elbows in something so I couldn’t check my phone every 30 seconds. The answer was plain. I needed meatballs.
I’ve mentioned before that I find the whole process of making meatballs utterly soothing. It’s the kind of thing you can just lose yourself in – the mashing together of ingredients with your fingers, the process of rolling each little ball into a perfect sphere, that whole lovely ritual of stirring and chopping to create something wonderful. The trick to these meatballs is to use the best beef mince you can afford (if you can get to a butcher to buy some decent steak mince, do. A pound of mince cost me a mere £2.20 from my favourite meat counter – both cheaper and better than the stuff you find in my local supermarket) and to let them rest. If you cook them too soon after making them, you’ll be left with a giant pan of meat paste. I have inadvertently done this more times than I’d like to admit, so LEARN FROM MY FAIL.
Eventually, the news I’d been waiting a day for came, and it turned out to be bad. But hey, these things happen I suppose. So, I did what any sensible person would have done in my situation – I turned the darts on, made myself a large gin and tonic and stuffed my face full of meatballs and cheesy polenta. And immediately felt better.
MEATBALLS IN A FRESH HERB AND TOMATO SAUCE (Serves four)
You will need:
- 300g beef steak mince
- 1 egg
- 40g fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Small fistful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 10ml vegetable oil
- 10ml olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic – chopped
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 100ml strong beef stock (such as Bovril) or 1 stock cube dissolved in 100ml water
- 20g butter
- Basil leaves
- Mix together all the meatball ingredients and form into small balls (Makes 20). Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour or so before use.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and in batches sear the meatballs well on all sides.
- To make the sauce heat the olive oil in the saucepan and fry the onion and garlic till softened but not brown.
- Add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes until the consistency has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Stir in the meatballs and cook with the lid on over a low heat for 20 minutes. (If you like, you can do this part in the oven. I put the meatballs and sauce into the Le Creuset Cookware pot that I got for Christmas. Thanks Mum Cay!)
- Stir in the butter and serve with the fresh basil leaves.
- Serve with either spaghetti, rice or cheesy polenta.