Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Marty's Meatballs

This is one of my favourite things to cook, but every time I make it, it changes. It’s really never the same each time, but I’m going to post my last make so I finally have something captured. Meatballs are a two pronged endeavour; purists would argue less is more, and others would argue that more is the end of the story. I like more. But granted, there is a time and a place. On a winter’s night I want heat, I want texture, I want spice and I want complex.

Meatballs have been prepared all over the world for many years and there are records in the Ancient Roman cookbook Apicius that make reference to meatballs.

Serves four - five
For the meatballs
500g beef mince
2 eggs
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ large onion
½ large field mushroom
2 large cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp black pepper
4 cloves, crushed
1 tsp nutmeg
3 ground bay leaves
1 tbsp ground mustard
1 tsp salt
½ teaspoon chilli flakes

For the Sauce
2 cans whole, peeled tomatoes
3 large vine ripened tomatoes, diced
½ cup red wine
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, diced
1.5 large field mushrooms, diced lengthways
Olive oil for cooking
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp cumin
½ chilli flakes
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by finely dicing all of the meatball ingredients and combine, using your hands to meld the mixture. Roll into small balls and let sit in refrigerator.

In a pan, heat olive oil and fry meatballs off on medium to high heat, browning evenly, then set aside. Add more olive oil to the pan and add garlic, onions and mushrooms to brown. After cooking for 3 -5 minutes, remove from pan and add a dollop of red wine to deglaze. Let the alcohol cook out of the wine to leave behind the grapey nodes. Add tomatoes, both fresh and canned and then add back garlic, onions and mushrooms. Add the herbs and cook for 5 – 10 minutes, adding and adjusting herbs, salt and pepper to taste. It is a matter of trial and error until you reach your desired taste.

Bake in the oven with meatballs for 40 – 60 minutes at 180 degrees. Serve with pasta, as desired.