Thursday 3 April 2008

Meat Balls

When I was living at with my parents (a mere 4 or so years ago), my 'speciality' was meat balls. I'm not sure if it's because mine were particularly good but perhaps rather that I could be bothered to stand there and roll them to feed 4 people.

Ever since I first made them, I've always tried to alter the recipe somehow to get the ultimate meat ball. Some say simple is best and prefer just salt and pepper, but I like some extra flavourings.

Here was tonight's effort:

Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

For one hungry person

For the balls:

125gr minced beef

2 anchovies in oil, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Half a shallot, finely diced
1 tbsp capers, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste
I don't really think egg or breadcrumbs are necessary in meatballs. If you work the flavourings into the meat enough without working it too much into a paste, then it'll hold together fine. Fry the meat balls in a pan with some oil until browned on all sides.

Then add 1/2 diced small onion, 1 fat clove garlic, minced, 1/2 yellow pepper, diced and a large pinch of chilli flakes and fry until the onion is translucent. Add 1 tbsp tomato puree, 1/2 can chopped tomatoes and 1 tsp sugar. Simmer until thickened, serve with a pasta of your choice and a grating of Parmesan.

I had mine with tagliatelle. I had a bag of spinach in the fridge that was starting to look like it was going to get up and walk away, so I added a few washed handfuls to the pot of pasta after I'd turned off the heat, but before I'd drained it. I don't much like pasta to be drowning in sauce, more like a dressing, so add more tomato to taste if you like.

These were very good. The anchovy melts into the meat so it's not fishy, but provided a good savoury depth.

Nevertheless, the quest for the perfect meatball shall go on. What's your best meat ball?


Ros said...

I think my favourite home made meatballs were made with lamb mince, crushed garlic, minced shallots and basil. I poured red wine over them as I fried them. i really like your addition of anchovies here- I'll try that next time.

Even though I agree that you don't need egg to hold the meatballs together I add some anyway as I prefer the texture.

Lord and Lady Burbott said...

Dearest Schmoof Schmoof,

It is with real pleasure that we stumbled across this meatball recipe. It is simple yet delicious – much like our relationship.

Well, we say simple but while the recipe was (somewhat), the shopping was not. Firstly, we were rather confused by the layout of the recipe. To the casual glance it looks very normal, but upon deeper inspection one realises that only the ingredients for the meatballs are listed in the ingredients list while the sauce ingredients are imbedded within the directions themselves. We only realized this at the supermarket, and I had to do a quick bit of mobile web-browsing to stop my lady going into meltdown (she was already quite flustered from having to multiply up all the ingredients to feed 3, we are unsure whether you can do a direct multiple or weather perhaps a factor of 2.5 may be more appropriate). I have to say, schmoof schmoof, not only have you bought lovely meals to our tables but you have given me the tools to fully learn how to deal with such stressful situations. Especially having to manage Lady Burbott in public. I have learnt that although people may give me funny looks, restraining her is the best thing for both of us.

It was with some trepidation that I realized the shop we were in had no chilli flakes, however my wife just shrugged and picked up some garlic chilli seasoning instead which is very out of character yet proved to be a delicious addition to the sauce. Sorry to waffle like this but I have fond memories of that trip.

So, to the cooking…

We had a small incident with the capers, I had misreard (or not read at all) the ingredient list and placed the capers directly into the meatball mix before dicing, we then had to pick them all out again and get a lesson in dicing, which at my age I find quite ridiculous. Lady Burbott felt it appropriate have an episode which was quite out of place and potential embarrassing considering we were expecting guests.

You quite rightly said that the anchovies add a savory depth but we also felt it added a subtle aromatic intensity that jolted some warm childhood memories of holidays on the Cote d'Azur. Would you not agree?

The mysterious gentleman was late for our meal. That didn’t stop us from going ahead, we don’t tolerate tardiness. He eventually arrived halfway through our meal and reiterated his contempt with parsley although again found it hard to pick out the flavour within the tangy splendor of our meatballs – next time we will try and find a recipe without parsley, I am thinking perhaps the mushroom tart.

I also found the macro function on our camera so have some quite outstanding snaps of the whole affair which I am adding to our scrapbook, you really have opened our eyes to food photography.

Thank you once more for a scrumptious meal, you continue to impress and enchant us.

We remain your affectionate admirers,

Lord and Lady Burbott

fabhat said...

I made spiced pork meatnballs last night - based on a recipe from Nigel S's Appetite: Spring onions, chilli,coriander leaves, lemongrass, ginger, garlic all mixed with minced pork, fried and then lime juice squeezed on top. Mmmm. I also love a reciepe by Anne Del Conte for beef meatballs stuffed with mozzarella in a very slow cooked sticky tomato sauce. Oh dear, now I'm feeling hungry again...