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Published October 28th 2011
Now that the days are drawing in and the temperature is dropping, we instinctively turn to slow cooked comfort dishes to keep out the cold. Casseroles and stews are the logical dishes to cook, but we can't always spare two or more hours to hang around while our meal cooks itself gently in the oven. This is when I turn to my favourite casseroled meatball dish, which can be prepared earlier in the day, and then put on to cook. Whilst it simmers away on the hob (or in the oven) you can prepare and cook any vegetables and other accompaniments and bring everything to the table in about thirty minutes.
500 g (1lb) minced beef 1 slice of bread (can be white or wholemeal)
large onion 1 large egg teasp salt 10 grinds of black pepper 2 teasp dark soy sauce 1 tbsp (approx) fresh breadcrumbs Some plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper large onion finely chopped 2 teasp salt
10 grinds of black pepper
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 teasp ready made mustard (I use Dijon)
2 teasp soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
5 oz tomato pureé mixed with 10 fl oz water
To make the meatballs put the bread, onion, egg, salt, pepper and soy sauce in a food processor or blender until smooth, then add to the minced meat, with breadcrumbs to take up any slack. Put the mix aside for about half an hour to firm up a little. Put the seasoned flour on a plate and form small balls of the meat mixture (you should get six from this quantity) between dampened hands. Roll the meatballs in the flour, squashing slightly to make patty shapes. Heat some oil in a heavy frying pan for about four minutes, add the patties and fry until they are a rich brown colour on both sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Use the left over oil (or add a little more if necessary) to the pan and lightly fry the chopped onion until golden, add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about five minutes until well combined and starting to thicken. Return the meatballs to the pan, baste with the sauce, cover with a lid and simmer on the hob for about thirty minutes, or bake in the oven (150°C) for about forty-five minutes. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes, rice or pasta and any other vegetables that you fancy.
Feel free to change and adjust the ingredients as you prefer. My husband also likes any leftover meatballs cold in a sandwich.