Pork and fen­nel meat­balls with braised len­tils

The Guardian - Feast - - Feast -

Blitz the first six meat­ball in­gre­di­ents and plenty of pep­per in a food pro­ces­sor, then add the other in­gre­di­ents ex­cept the oil and blitz again un­til the mix comes to­gether. With lightly oiled hands, form the mix into 12 meat­balls weigh­ing about 50g each, squeez­ing them tightly as you go, so they hold to­gether.

Heat a ta­ble­spoon and a half of oil in a large, non­stick saute pan on a medium-high flame. Once very hot, fry half the meat­balls for four to five min­utes, turn­ing them reg­u­larly, un­til golden brown all over (turn down the heat if they stick to the pan or colour too quickly). Re­peat with the re­main­ing meat­balls and oil. Trans­fer to a dish (along with any fat) and wipe the pan clean.

Put the first six in­gre­di­ents for the len­tils, three-quar­ters of a tea­spoon of salt and plenty of pep­per in the same pan on a high heat. When the oil starts to bub­ble, turn the heat to medium-low and gen­tly fry for 10 min­utes, un­til the shal­lots are soft and golden brown. Stir in the len­tils, raise the heat to high, then pour in the wine and let it bub­ble away for three min­utes. Add the stock and 300ml wa­ter, bring to a sim­mer, then re­duce the heat to medium and cook for half an hour, stir­ring now and then. Cover the pan, cook for 10 min­utes more, un­til the len­tils are soft but still hold their shape, then re­turn the meat­balls (and any fat) to the pan, cover and leave to cook through – six or seven min­utes.

Driz­zle with the re­main­ing two ta­ble­spoons of oil, scat­ter with the pars­ley and re­main­ing sage, and serve hot with the lemon wedges.

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