Mighty meat­balls make mar­vel­lous meals

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Fact: Peo­ple love meat­balls.

It is strange that this hum­ble unas­sum­ing food can evoke such a re­ac­tion, but they re­ally are sim­ple, af­ford­able and pack so much into one lit­tle flavour bomb!

There are far more at­trac­tive terms for the word meat­ball. The Egyptian kofta, the Greek keftethes, the Swedish kO¨et­bullar, the Dan­ish frikadeller, and the Brazil­ian al­monde­gas sound far more ex­otic and in­ter­est­ing than meat­ball.

Many na­tions and cul­tures have laid claim to this in­fa­mous dish, how­ever, it is not re­ally known where it first orig­i­nated. Some re­searchers claim that there are recipes that come from the Ro­man times that date back to 25 AD.

You can arm this mince-based meal with a huge va­ri­ety of flavours and in­gre­di­ents to trans­form a usu­ally dull in­gre­di­ent into a taste sen­sa­tion. They are very eco­nom­i­cal per kilo­gram, and other in­gre­di­ents can be used to pack-out the meat so it can stretch fur­ther. Pork and lemon meat­balls with clas­sic tomato sauce and spaghetti.

Photo: BEC STAN­LEY

There is no short­age of in­ter­est­ing op­tions you can add to ameat­ball. You can use all va­ri­eties of mince meats from the ob­vi­ous – beef, chicken, pork, lamb and even turkey. This way the meat­ball can make a va­ri­ety of ap­pear­ances at your din­ner ta­ble. Here’s a few dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions to try:

Chicken with kaffir lime, co­rian­der and chilli; pork meat­balls with chorizo and pa­prika; Moroc­can meat­balls with ground cumin, co­rian­der and pa­prika; meat­balls with mine­strone; Span­ish meat­balls with al­monds, pa­prika and red onion; sweet and sour meat­balls; gin­ger chicken meat­balls; veal and pinenut meat­balls stuffed with moz­zarella.

Th­ese de­lec­ta­ble lit­tle balls of good­ness are some­thing the whole fam­ily will en­joy.

Don’t be scared off by the an­chovy, they just give the dish that lit­tle flavour punch it needs but will be un­de­tectable to most palates.

Pork and Lemon Meat­balls with Clas­sic Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti Prep Time: Cook Time: In­gre­di­ents Meat­balls

15 mins 20 mins 500g free range pork mince 70g bread­crumbs (or I used 2 pieces of bread and blended in food pro­ces­sor) 60ml milk 3 an­chovy fil­lets finely chopped 2 cloves gar­lic crush 1 good hand­ful chopped flat leaf pars­ley 5-6 ta­ble­spoons grated Parme­san 2 ta­ble­spoons rose­mary chopped finely 1 ta­ble­spoon lemon juice

Tomato Sauce

2 cans of chopped toma­toes 1 onion diced 2 cloves gar­lic crushed 1 ta­ble­spoon red wine vine­gar 1 ta­ble­spoon dried basil (use fresh if you have it) 1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil Salt and Pep­per to taste

Method

1. Soak the bread­crumbs in the milk for 5 mins 2. In a large bowl com­bine the mince, cheese, pars­ley, rose­mary, lemon juice, an­chovy and soaked bread­crumbs and mix thor­oughly. Sea­son with salt and pep­per. 3. Make your ba­sic tomato sauce. Heat a pot with 1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil. Add in your onion and cook for about 5 mins un­til soft­ened. Add in your gar­lic and dried basil (if us­ing fresh add at the end) and cook for a fur­ther 2 mins. 4. Add the toma­toes and vine­gar and sim­mer for around 15 mins. Sea­son with salt and pep­per. 5. While this is sim­mer­ing, roll your meat­balls. Take a heaped ta­ble­spoon of mince mix­ture and roll in ball then pop on to a tray with bak­ing pa­per. You should be able to make about 25 meat­balls. You can vary the size, I just tend to make bite size for the kids for ease. 6. Heat 2 ta­ble­spoon olive oil to a medium heat and cook meat­balls in batches of about 8-10 for 4-5 mins un­til golden and cooked through. 7. Cooked your spaghetti ac­cord­ing to the pack. Drain and pop into a large serv­ing plat­ter. Place meat­balls on top then pour over the tomato sauce and gar­nish with ei­ther chopped pars­ley or fresh basil and grated Parme­san. Tra­di­tion­ally you would mix the sauce through your pasta be­fore serv­ing. Serves 4-5

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