Meatballs in a Tomato & Fresh Basil Sauce

DSC_1350 (788x1024)Ryan Tubridy…you’re being blempt!! Blempt for this blog being posted so late and you will be blempt for my tiredness for the rest of my very busy weekend.  I have to say that I absolutely adored this year’s Toy Show on RTE 1- it was full of magical moments, and it was totally worth it.

This is my second blog for Grogan & Brown Artisan Butchers, where I will be leaving a bain marie full of meatballs in my Tomato & Fresh Basil sauce in their shop for you to taste tomorrow (actually, it’s today now!), and if you like the taste you can find the recipe here, and make them yourself.  If you’re interested in following my blog/recipes, ‘like’ my facebook page, Danette’s Feast, and you will be notified when I do post a blog.

Since my first blog of this sort- Grogan & Brown have won the Kilkenny Retailer of the Year award, which they highly deserve.  I have heard numerous reports from various people about the wonderful service and attention they have received from the lads.  Congratulations guys, and well done!  Only one year in….can’t keep up with these guys!

This time, I’m taking the tasting/blog a bit further, because I’ve also left a few pots of my sauce with them for you to buy, so all you will have to do is make the meatballs.  Easy peasy.  Just a small aside about my cooking sauce(s)-  They’re designed so if you don’t want to use them today, then you can freeze them (in the containers), and simply defrost or microwave (also in the containers), and add the meat(s) (or vegetables, shhh don’t tell Dermot or John that!) of your choice and have an instant meal to hand.  No preservatives, or lingering unwanted tastes….just really good home-made sauce with buckets of flavour and lots of magic too.  All my sauces are made by myself, and all are made in small batches (a detail that really does make a difference in taste). Plus, and it is a plus, when I say Fresh Basil…there is a LOT of fresh basil in my sauce:DSC_1330 (591x1024)

So, I asked John to mince me equal portions of pork and beef for this particular recipe.  I am using a larger quantity than you probably will be so this recipe will be for 1-lb. beef mince and 1-lb. pork mince combined (2-lbs. in total, but if you’re only 1 or 2 people in your household, you can freeze the remaining meatballs and sauce in portions and have real food to hand in a hurry).  These meatballs are ideal as party food (made small like the ones I’m making for the shop today), as spaghetti and meatballs (as photographed above), or you can make them into the American favourite ‘Meatball hero’ by removing some of the centre bread from a baguette, smearing some of my Cashew pesto on the bread and spooning the meatballs in the centre and topping with grated mozarella.  (To die for satisfaction….I highly recommend!).

Back to the recipe. DSC_1333 (450x800) For the 2lbs. of combined mince you will need to heat 2 Tblsp. rapeseed oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat and add 250 grams of finely chopped onions, 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped, and cook until they are soft.DSC_1334 (676x1024)  When they are, grate or finely chop 18 grams of garlic and add to the vegetables in the pan.  Cook for another 3 minutes and then allow to cool while you prepare the meat base. In a large bowl, combine the 2-lbs of beef and pork mince as well as 2 Tblsp. worchestershire sauce, 1 & 1/2 Tablspoons tomato puree, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon dry oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh oregano-chopped, 10 grams fresh basil, chopped, 50 grams grated parmesan (to bind) and a dessertspoon of nori (seaweed) flakes.  DSC_1336 (576x1024)When the cooked vegetable mixture has cooled add it to the bowl of meat and other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Form into meatball sizes of your choice and place in a roasting tin.  DSC_1339 (576x1024)Bake at 180 C.  Small meatballs will take approximately 20 minutes to cook, but check them by splitting in half and making sure there are no traces of pink in the centre.  DSC_1341 (576x1024)There will be quite a bit of fat in the pan. Lift the meatballs out of the fat and place in another roasting tray,( if you are serving lots of small ones for a crowd),DSC_1345 (616x1024) Or into a saucepan if they are for a dinner. DSC_1344 (698x1024) In either case, discard the oil and cover the meatballs with the Tomato & Fresh Basil Sauce.   Baste the meatballs over a low heat on the hob, or cover the plentiful small ones with tinfoil and heat in a low oven (160 C)  for at least 20 minutes .

For the spaghetti & meatballs- At the end of that time, boil your spaghetti , drain and serve the meatballs and sauce on top, garnish with more grated parmesan cheese.   If you’re cooking these for a crowd (small meatballs to be served on cocktail sticks at a party, you can serve as is, or garnish with grated mozarella or parmesan. Everyone that eats meat, loves a good meatball! So having these in your freezer for unexpected guests over the holidays might be a good idea too;-) .  Toy show and Thanksgiving Day over…it’s officially Christmas , in my book 😉




3 thoughts on “Meatballs in a Tomato & Fresh Basil Sauce

      1. Helen

        I since made them myself and they were an incredible success. One word – delectable. All plates licked clean and edgy glances towards the deep tray I’d served from. Seconds all round! Doing them again tonight for a dinner tomorrow.


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