21 January 2016

Traditional meatballs in sauce

I know it has been a while... around 6 months to be exact! But so many things got in the way: moving house, finishing the thesis, starting a new job, none of them remotely relaxing and easy as you may think.
But here I am, trying to get back to this glorious blog with a new beautiful addition. This is my mum's meatball recipe, which I love (mouth watering already...), and although it is not a quick meal, it is really easy and the end result is just stunning!
These are perfect on a winter day, really hot from the sauce pan, served the Spanish way with a nice bread, or also with a side dish of boiled potatoes or rice. But to be honest, my favourite is with the bread...

If you need to make this recipe gluten free there is nothing easier. Just change the bread slices for gluten free bread and then accompany the meatballs with rice or boiled potatoes (or gluten free bread if you are like me and you like to dip the bread in the sauce).
Try to serve with a cold beer, a nice glass of wine or just water (I am in favour of eating with water, you get to enjoy the food more if your taste is not compromised).

Serves 6

  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 4 slices of bread (gluten free if you prefer)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Bunch of curly leaf parsley
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil (or sunflower oil if you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup passata or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water or stock
  • 1 Tbsp plain flour
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

The first thing is to soak the bread in cold water for a few minutes. Drain all the water that you can by making it into a ball and put it with the mince.

Chop the parsley and two garlic cloves as small as you can and add to the bowl with the bread and the mince. Add also the four eggs, you can beat them first if you like.

Add a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg (approximately 1/2 tsp). With your very well washed hands, mix everything, like a bread dough, for a few minutes until all the ingredients are perfectly mixed. Leave this mix to rest for around 10 minutes.

Pick a spoonful of mixture and roll it into a ball of approximately golf ball size. The mixture should hold together firmly. Repeat with another spoonful and another until you finish all the bowl and all the meatballs are approximately the same size. This is important because you want them to all cook at the same time, otherwise some will be undercooked and others overcooked.

Once all the balls are ready you could roll them in flour to prevent them from splitting in the pan. I have skipped this step, but if you feel like your meatballs might fall apart, put a plate with flour next to them and, one by one, pick them up and roll them in the flour. Once ready, heat the oil in a pan. Start frying them in batches. The goal is to seal them, not fully cook them, so turn them often until they are golden on all sides. Once ready, put them in a sauce pan large enough to hold them all comfortably.

Now lower the heat on the frying pan, where the remaining oil still stays. Add the four slowly and stir until the flour has been absorbed and there are no more lumps. Then, really slowly and without stopping to stir add the water or stock. I chose water, since the pan already has a lot of flavour in it from the meatballs. 


Once all the liquid has been added, add another pinch of nutmeg and the passata or crushed tomatoes. Bring to the boil and add to the sauce pan with the meatballs. Cook uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes at a low to medium heat stirring occasionally to make sure all the meatballs are juicy from the sauce.

Once ready serve straight away pipping hot with a slice of bread to dip into the sauce. Otherwise you could serve them with boiled rice or potatoes. And partner it with a nice beer or red wine ¡Buen provecho!

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 397
Calories from Fat 186
Total Fat 20.7g32%
Saturated Fat 5.9g29%
Cholesterol 221mg74%
Sodium 727mg30%
Potassium 521mg15%
Carbohydrates 12.4g4%
Dietary Fiber 0.8g3%
Sugars 2.1g
Protein 40.9g
Vitamin A 12% · Vitamin C 12%
Calcium 5% · Iron 31%

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