Wednesday, August 4, 2010

baby balls of meat

Today and yesterday I took on the task of sorting through everything we had in the fridge and freezer, throwing out expired stuff, and arranging the rest so that it's easily accessible and ready to be used in time for it to still be good.

Sorting out the freezer was interesting, have found lovely packets of fresh artichoke hearts that my dad lovingly prepared when it was artichoke season, some delicious looking pumpkin ravioli, amongst so much other stuff like desserts, meat, veggies and a heap of ready chopped garlic and ginger :D very handy to know :D

I took out 500 grams of pork mince, as i had an idea brewing when I'd cleaned the fridge yesterday and found some pork stock (leftover from a roast this weekend - recipe to follow!) and leftover 10 minute pasta sauce (well, my dad's version of). Plenty of the other ingredients are also leftover, or bits that were found in the freezer that i thought would be nice to add.

Decided to make baby meatballs in a wine/stock/tomato sauce... to serve with pasta or rice. you can even choose to serve it with a heap of steamed veggies for a carb free option :D I have this great memory of cooking baby meatballs with my "aunt" Jo (she's my dad's cousin's wife really, but is that perfect mix of "adult" and "naughty kid" that a young girl needs when growing up) when I'd go to hers after school - I learnt lots of cooking skills from her, the first lesson being why putting a dishcloth on the stove is NOT a good idea :P

Oh yeah I had the balls of meat ad song going through my head all this time - hence the name I gave the dish ;)

Ok so here goes:

500g minced pork
50g bacon, chopped finely
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
a tablespoon or so of grated parmesan
handful of chopped fresh (or frozen) parsley
1 egg
salt, pepper
1 large onion, sliced
dash of red wine
2 cups tomato/basil/garlic sauce (see recipe linked above) (or a tin of polpa, some extra garlic if you don't have any ready made)
a large cup of stock (i used leftover pork stock, but you can use whatever you like)
Extra virgin olive oil
Herbes de Provence (or some kind of Mediterranean mixed herbs)
a cup or so of frozen/fresh peas.

Mix together the minced pork, bacon, garlic, parmesan, lightly beaten egg and some salt and pepper. Dont' be afraid to use your hands, it feels squishy but it really gets all the ingredients well blended.

You will need a large fry pan for cooking the balls of meat. Dad recently bought a paella dish so I thought this would come in handy, seeing as I could move the cooked ones to the side and still have place for the others - in fact i pretty much ended up with all the meatballs on the dish at the same time, cooking at different speeds.

Form the meat into tiny meatballs, just over a teaspoon worth. Real "bite size" balls.

Heat some oil in the fry-pan, and start frying them on a medium head. Don't overcrowd the pan, otherwise they will stew rather than crisp up and get that lovely golden brown colour. Do them in batches as need be, and keep the others in a bowl near the stove. Be careful to turn them as soon as one side is done, i like to turn them to at least 3 different angles to cook well.

Once all the meatballs are nice and browned, add some more oil and a dash of water and the sliced onions to the dish, taking care to scrape all the bits of caramelised deliciousness leftover from the cooking meat.

Once the onions are slightly translucent, transfer all the onions (and bits from the pan), and meatballs to a medium to large saucepan. Add the stock, wine, herbs, tomato sauce, stir and bring to the boil.

Cover, turn to the lowest heat setting and let simmer for about 30 minutes (longer if the tomato sauce is not ready made).

Add some peas 5 minutes before serving, simmer further, and serve with steaming piles of freshly cooked rice or pasta, or a bunch of steamed veggies and maybe some mashed/boiled potatoes.

Alternatively this would be great served in a small bowl with mounds of buttered crusty bread, you might not even need to add the peas in this case :)

enjoy! :D

yet again i forgot to take a pic of the finished product. Me and my ravenous family! heheheh :P

N.B. Some people flour the meatballs before frying them - while this does make for a tasty crisp coating, it's not necessary. I just formed and dropped them directly onto the pan. worked a treat for me :)

**NOTE** the low carb tag on this only refers to the sauce of course.  if you served it with pasta, rice, potatoes or bread, this would obviously change

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