The ds's love meatballs a la Captain Birds eye but I don't like giving them ready meals so I tried to make my own. However, they just disintegrated in the pan, both times I made them, didn't end up very spherical! What am I doing wrong?
Meat Balls & Tomato Sauce
2 packs of minced beef or lamb (this will feed 6)
5 spring onions
2 slices bread
1 cup milk OR 1 cup red wine, to moisten
2 cups chopped celery
1 tin tomatoes
1 carton of passata (more convenient than jars)
1 tsp mixed herbs
Spices, all ground together
1 tsp coriander seeds OR 1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp chilli powder
Mince bread, spring onions, ground spices, seasoning and milk/wine
Add meat and mince to mix all ingredients
Form minced ingredients into small balls
Brown in oil and set aside
Remove excess fat from pan and fry celery (onion is OK too)
Add tinned tomatoes and 1/2 carton passata
Season with salt & pepper and mixed herbs (little chilli or paprika optional)
Add meat balls and cook slowly for 20-30 minutes
If sauce needs amplifying, add more passata
Serve with spaghetti
Note: I find no need for egg, the balls hold together fine with the bread mix. You can obviously jazz up the sauce, with onions, herbs etc.
- Put 1lb beef mince in a bowl,
- add 1 egg,
- 1 very finely chopped onion (I usually whizz the onion up in the Braun multiquick - if the onion pieces are too big, the meatballs do tend to fall apart)
- Then add just enough matzo meal or breadcrumbs to bring the mixture back so it is firm enough to handle, (as the egg makes it a bit "loose").
- Season, maybe add some Lea & Perrins or dried chili flakes and that's it.
Before rolling them up the secret tip is to have a small bowl of cold water to hand and keep dipping your hands in so they are always wet. Then take small walnut size scoops and roll in to balls and put them on plate in fridge for 15 mins or so. I think frying them in a non-stick pan helps keep them together too. I make burgers the same way, but make them larger. Always turn out fine - kids love'em.
I have a brilliantly easy meatball recipe - German style (though I've adapted it and simplified quite a lot as I'm lazy.)
1 pack mince, 1 onion, 1 red pepper (get those hidden veggies in!), 1 egg, 2 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs. (also add anything lese you fancy in terms of garlic/herbs).
Whizz it all up in processor. Put 1 lt stock in a pan and boil (I use Marigold powder, but weak). Form the mixture into walnut sized pieces and drop into the simmering stock (see no frying!). Leave simmering gently for 10 minutes after making last ball.
Drain pan, keeping meatballs and stock. Melt 1 tbsp butter and stir in 1 tbsp flour. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the stock, a little at a time stirring until combined after each addition. Flavour sauce with lemon juice. You can also add capers if you want to make a nod to authenticity but I usually don't. If the sauce looks too thick (you want pouring cream consistency), just add boiling water. Put the meatballs back in the pan and simmer for another 15 -30 minutes depending on when you can get everybody sat down.
I usually serve this with rice. I have given it to loads of kids and they all seem to love it - boiling the meatballs gives them a better texture for kids. Adults like it to though. It also freezes really well in individual portions.